PAINTERS who have been sprucing up Powys County Council’s (PCC) county hall headquarters, are not from the county or even Wales.

During the last couple of years, cabinet members have made big claims that their policy of having the council spend money with firms from Powys, is helping the economy.

Workers from Telford based Blue Square property maintenance were given the contract to paint at county hall.

Workers from Blue Square have a round journey of nearly 120miles a day to get to Llandrindod Wells and back.

Cllr Karen Laurie-Parry (Independent – Bronllys) said: “I cannot believe that the painters working outside county hall are not a firm from Powys but Telford.

“What can this be costing? Surely we have a company in Powys who would have been more than pleased to get the work.”

Cllr Laurie-Parry wondered why different departments were working at cross-purposes, with one advocating the Powys Pound while another chose contractors from outside the county?

Corporate director economy and environment, Nigel Brinn, said: ”The contract to manage current maintenance work at County Hall is done by Heart of Wales Property Services (HOWPS) Ltd.”

HOWPS is a joint venture between Powys County Council (PCC) and Kier that looks after 5,400 homes and 630 other properties in the county.

It started in July 2017 after 109 PCC workers were transferred to the new company.

Several members of the PCC cabinet and senior staff are HOWPS directors.

Mr Brinn, who is also a director of HOWPS, added: “However, the work was subject to competitive tendering and local companies were invited to submit a quote.

“Only one local company submitted a price, which was significantly higher than others submitted during the process.

“The county council is facing continued financial pressures and has to balance providing value for money for local council tax payers and supporting the local economy.

“In this case the difference between prices was such that the work was allocated to the best value option.”

In June, Cllr Weale claimed that the £15 million that has been spent with Powys based companies since the Independent/Conservative coalition came into power.

He claimed that that every £1 spent by PCC in county is worth £6 for the county.

This would mean that the Powys Pound spend so far is worth £90 million into the local economy.