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Welsh Lib Dems alone in backing reduction in Councillor numbers

At the Council meeting on 27 January elected members discussed their response to the draft Local Government Bill which proposes merging Councils as well as a raft of other changes. The suggested response, which had been put together following meetings of Cabinet Members and the Overview Scrutiny committee, expressed concerns that the number of Councillors could be cut.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor Mike Powell said he could not put his name to it.

"Whether the mergers that the Labour government are proposing go ahead or not we believe that there should be a reduction in the number of Councillors across Wales. Indeed I argued that should happen in RCT some time ago but the suggestion was met with derision by other parties.

"At a recent Council meeting Labour and Plaid Councillors actually said that there should be an increase in the number of Councillors. Plaid's proposals would have put the number up from 75 to 99. That is ridiculous and I certainly cannot back it."

The response also poured cold water on the idea of broadcasting Council meetings via the website arguing that nobody was interested anyway.

Councillor Powell argued that unless people had the opportunity to engage by that means then nobody would know what the demand would be.

"The broadcasting of Council meetings was a firm pledge from the Labour party prior to the last Council election. It has turned out to be one of a long list of promises they had no intention of keeping.

"The quote of the evening, however, came from Plaid group leader Pauline Jarman, who said that the Welsh Government would go ahead and do what they liked with regard to merging Local Authorities anyway. She has obviously forgotten that Plaid at the Assembly backed Labour to allow them to progress with their plans for mergers."

Comments

The last sentence of that LibDem press release is a lie.

Plaid Cymru backed a motion in the Senedd to defer any consideration for local government reorganisation to after the elections in May.  This is what will happen. It's not RCT council who decides the goegraphical footprint of a local authority, that's decided by the Welsh Government, and the Labour proposals were thrown out thanks to Plaid Cymru.

Plaid Cymru opposes creating mega-councils and does not indulge in silly meaningless posturing like the LibDem in the council chamber.