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THE HERALD FRIDAY JANUARY 27 2017


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3 News Council challenged on Council Tax commitment


‘A challenge’: Mid Wales’ deep rurality CONCERN about the County


Council’s commitment to its policy of distributing the money raised by the Council Tax levy on second and holiday homes to local communities have been raised following a recent workshop on the policy’s implementation. In an, at times, farcical debate


in a half empty chamber in March 2016, the Full Council agreed with Aberaron Councillor Elizabeth Evans’ suggestion that the premium levied on both second and empty homes be set at 25%. However, her second motion, which provided that the revenue raised from second homes be apportioned to the localities in which it was raised, was passed by only eight to seven with one abstention. During that debate, then Council


Chair Gill Hopley spoke of the precipitous decline in the permanent population of New Quay from around 1,000 to 700 in very few years. She


Jon Coles jon.coles@herald.email


painted a worrying picture of the town as virtually empty in the winter months and indicated that local facilities for permanent residents were in danger of disappearing. Cllr Evans made it expressly


clear that was the sort of situation her proposal was seeking to address by enabling communities to have control over the extra income the 25% levy would realise. It is that resolution from which it is suggested the council is rowing back. Following a recent workshop to


discuss how to distribute the money raised, opposition councillors have expressed the fear that the council is now seeking to get out of that commitment and to replace it with something very much less focussed. Cllr Gethin James has claimed that at the workshop: “The Leader [Cllr


MP responds to Supreme Court ruling COMMENTING on the


Supreme Court ruling on triggering Article 50, Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Mark Williams said: “I welcome today’s Supreme Court ruling. This decision shows that the sovereignty of Parliament is paramount and that the British people must be given a voice in what happens next in the Brexit negotiations. “Only the Liberal Democrats


are calling for the people to be given a say on the final Brexit deal. This


Ellen ap Gwynn] started talking about Growing Mid Wales and that she wants to change the decision of the council and put the money into a joint project between us and Powys.” While described as ‘a community


group’ by the BBC report on the matter, Growing Mid Wales very much appears to be quango cobbled together by the Welsh Government from the usual collection of public bodies and third sector groups intended to promote regionalisation on the basis of achieving alleged economies of scale in service delivery. Not a single member of that


body is directly elected, all being appointed by their own ‘stakeholder institution’ at a notional arm’s length from the Welsh Government. Growing Mid Wales’ website,


hosted by Powys County Council, says it wishes ‘to draw together local business, academic leaders and national and local government to create a vision for the future growth of Mid Wales and influence and champion our future expansion’. Reading the documents and material


on the site suggests that its mission is a world away from reinvesting money in


small community facilities, such as that set out by Ceredigion Council in 2016. In a statement, the council said:


“It was agreed that a task and finish group should be established to discuss options and provide recommendations to the council about the best way of distributing money in a legal and transparent manner.” Whether that legal and transparent


manner will include an attempt to overturn a policy intended to benefit Ceredigion’s communities in favour of regional grand projects selected by an unaccountable body remains to be seen.


process started with democracy and must end with democracy, and we will vote against triggering Article 50 without that commitment from the UK Government. “It would be wholly unacceptable


for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to be left in the dark on this historic decision. The UK Government must absolutely respect the devolved settlement of Britain and the right of the devolved parliaments to shape our withdrawal from the EU.”


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