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Local democratic committee scrapped to save money

Created on 26/01/2018 @ 14:45
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Montgomeryshire will no longer have its own shire committee on Powys County Council, as part of cost cutting measures.

The Montgomeryshire shire committee had been in existence, along with Radnorshire and Brecknock committees, since the unitary authority was formed in 1996.

The committee was made up of Powys county councillors from the Montgomeryshire area.

Yesterday the council’s Democratic Services Committee proposed that meetings be reduced from bi-monthly to quarterly. However, the council voted to scrap them completely.

Plaid Cymru Councillor Elwyn Vaughan claimed that the council could save £175,000 per year by scrapping the Shire committees, which he described as outdated - and he won support in a passionate debate.

The move will also see an end to the role of Shire committee chairs, which means that Councillor Joy Jones of Newtown will be the last chairman of the Montgomeryshire Committee.

The three chairmen of shire committees have provided a supporting role to the council chairman, carrying out civic duties across the county.

The Democratic Services Committee is to consider the civic role of the chairman at its’ next meeting.

Cabinet Member for Communications, Councillor James Evans said; “The shire committees are a reflection of the former district councils that disappeared more than 20 years ago. Their usefulness over the years has been acknowledged. However, they have become a luxury that we can no longer afford.
“The county council is facing severe financial pressure and will have to change the way it works if it is to provide services within available resources. We cannot afford the kind of county council we have had in the past, we have to change.
“By removing the shire committees we as councillors are leading by example, showing that we recognise that change is necessary in the interest of service delivery and value for money for the council taxpayer.
“The removal of the shire committees will not dilute democracy, it will strengthen it and we will work tirelessly to improve the way in which democracy is delivered through the use of new technology. The shire committees were cherished by many councillors but their removal will allow precious resources to be better used,” he added.

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