DISCRETIONARY services such as libraries, street lighting and roads face severe pressure and possible cuts following a decade of funding cuts, Powys County Council has warned.

The poorest funding settlement in Wales for nine out of the past 10 years means that even a hefty council tax increase will not prevent further spending cuts and the possible loss of local services.

Councillor Aled Davies, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, said: “The reality facing the council is that not even a significant increase in the rate of council tax will prevent a number of valued services including libraries, roads and street lighting face reductions.

“While no decisions have yet been made, our ability to reduce spending is severely restricted by the proportion of our budget that is needed to support statutory services such as education and social care. These services account for more than 70 per cent of our spending and although they are not exempt from cuts it is inevitable that non-statutory areas will come under the greatest pressure.

“We will have to ask ourselves can we afford the branch libraries we operate, the number of offices and buildings we fund. Will we have to reduce the length of roads we repair, the number of street lights we power and the number of open spaces we maintain.

“As a council we are facing some of the most challenging decisions of our political lives, decisions that I am sure will be unpopular. But, we have to set a balanced budget and the continued reduction in our external funding means we have little choice.

“We have a difficult task ahead of us balancing the level of council tax against the level of service provision. It will not be easy and we hope that residents understand our choices and accept our decision,” he added.

Among the proposals in the budget are to generate £753,000 by increasing income, service reduction, digitalisation and automation, and £200,000 with a review of library provision –along with bringing in £250,000 with charges for green waste collection.

Council chiefs want to review street light provision (non-statutory) and limit PCC funding to conflict areas only, while encouraging town and community councils to support any additional lighting requirements.

In the Archives and Information Management Service, the council says it could save £46,000 with a review of staffing levels and efficiency. A total of £100,000 could be found by reviewing car parking charges and increasing income.

The council also proposed to save £58,000 by cutting the tourism development and marketing budget in half,