JUST hours after the budget for 2021/22 was set, a Powys County Councillor has left the Independent ruling group, unhappy with the Council Tax rise.
Cllr Karen Laurie-Parry who represents the ward of Bronllys near Brecon, has submitted the paperwork to leave the ruling group, and intends to become a non-aligned councillor for now.
Cllr Laurie-Parry said: “As a true Independent, I am very disappointed in having to take this action, but I have to do the right thing for constituents.”
She revealed that she had voted against the Independent/Conservative administration’s proposed Council Tax increase of 2.9 per cent.
Cllr Laurie-Parry, said “I had hoped for 1.9 per cent or at the very best a zero increase in Council Tax, but the few votes swaying for the 2.9 per cent is democracy.”
In leaving the group, Cllr Laurie-Parry will also have to give up a seat on the Audit committee, and the Economy, Residents Communities and Governance scrutiny committee.
Cllr Laurie-Parry added that she was “sad” to leave these committees.
She hoped the SWAP internal audit probe into the issues surrounding the refurbishment of Brecknock Museum turning it into Y Gaer cultural hub in Brecon, would be published soon.
She added that she will continue shining a light and seek answers to questions of expenditure and governance.
“There is so much work to be done,” said Cllr Laurie-Parry.
This month, (February) has seen moves by three other councillors.
Cllrs Les Skilton and Gwilym Williams, both left the Conservative group which is part of the ruling coalition to join Action for Powys.
Anti-poverty champion, Cllr Joy Jones who was non-aligned, also joined Action for Powys.
This means the make up of the Council is now:
Independents = 23
Conservative = 15
The ruling coalition is Independent and Conservative Groups = 38
Liberal Democrats & Green = 15
Labour = 8
Action for Powys – 7
Plaid Cymru = 2
Non-aligned = 3
Total = 73