March 4, 2021

Newyddion Cymru Ar-Lein : Wales News Online

Newyddion Lleol a Chenedlaethol Cymru – Local and National News for Wales

THE proposed 3.9 per cent council tax rise backed by the ruling Independent/Conservative cabinet, is the cause of a senior Tory leaving the group.

Cllr Gwilym Williams (Disserth and Trecoed)  has said that he’s signed “all the necessary forms” and intends joining the Action for Powys group.

He will become the third councillor and second Conservative to join Action for Powys, in the last week.

A former chairman of the Brecon and Radnorshire Conservative Association, Cllr Williams pointed out that back in May 2017, aspiring Conservative council election candidates had stood for office on a manifesto for keeping council tax low.

But the administration which runs the council, a coalition between the Independents and Conservatives, has seen council tax go up by 19.3 per cent, with next year’s increase set to be 3.9 per cent.

As part of the medium term financial plan for Powys County Council – an extra five per cent is also mooted for 2022/23 budget.

This makes a potential total rise of 28.2 per cent during the current electoral cycle.

Cllr Williams said: “The reason that I am leaving is because, with the current council tax rise of 3.9 per cent, and there will also be another increase next year.

“We promised that there would be a low council tax for the term of the council.”

Cllr Williams said that the group had “completely failed” in keeping the promise of low council tax.

“People can no longer afford the continual escalation of council tax, ” said Cllr Williams.

Cllr Williams warned:  “Come the next council elections, people will not forget the high rate of council tax and Conservative members will find it difficult to get re-elected.”

Until the beginning November, Cllr Williams, was chairman of the health and care scrutiny committee, and had steered the committee through choppy waters as PCC came to terms with damning inspection reports on children’s and adult social services.

He was replaced as the party’s nominee for the role at a group meeting before PCC’s annual meeting at the end of November.

Following a vote, the group chose Cllr Amanda Jenner (Trewern) to be their nomination as  chairman of the health and care scrutiny committee.

Last week, Cllrs Joy Jones (Newtown East) and former Conservative Les Skilton (Newtown South) joined Action for Powys.

The 2021/22 budget is due to be discussed at a council meeting on Thursday, February 25.

This means the make up of the Council is now:

Independents = 24

Conservative = 15

The ruling coalition is Independent and Conservative Groups = 39

Liberal Democrats & Green  = 15

Labour = 8

Action for Powys – 7

Plaid Cymru = 2

Non-aligned = 2

Total = 73

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