Powys council leaders urged to create 'rainbow alliance'

Council services
Image caption Powys council leaders have two weeks in which to re-write their budget plans

Opposition groups in Powys have called for a "rainbow alliance" of all parties to run the county council.

Group leaders are discussing the budget after plans for £12m cuts and a 9.5% council tax hike were rejected.

Lib Dem/Green leader James Gibson-Watt said the Independent/Tory coalition had "failed to turn Powys around", saying other parties should join the cabinet.

Cabinet member for finance Aled Davies said setting a balanced budget was "critical" to avoid risk to services.

Cuts to libraries, blue badge parking and leisure services were attacked during a stormy seven-hour meeting last Thursday where the budget was rejected by a one-vote majority.

Group leaders were meeting on Monday to find a way forward, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Image copyright Powys County Council
Image caption Opposition group leaders James Gibson-Watt (Lib Dems), Matthew Dorrance (Labour) and Elwyn Vaughan (Plaid Cymru)

Councillor Gibson-Watt, who leads the largest opposition group, said the budget was "only a symptom of the problems".

"We have given the leadership 18 months and they have failed to turn Powys around," he said.

"There are key departments where hard and politically unpopular decisions have been kicked into the long grass.

"We are prepared to play our role in creating a rainbow administration that will work for the greater good of Powys and take the hard decisions that are long overdue."

Matthew Dorrance, who leads the Labour group, claimed the cabinet was "out of touch with our citizens and our communities".

Plaid Cymru group leader Elwyn Vaughan called for "fresh thinking", urging the creation of "a rainbow alliance - making the most of skills from a range of individuals from whatever political colour for the sake of Powys".

Mr Davies, Conservative group leader, said: "We will now, over the coming days, have to continue to try and set a balanced budget.

"This is critical - not to do so will put service delivery at high risk."

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