A NEW political power is rising in Powys as two councillors have left the Independent group, to go their own way.

Last week it was announced that Cllr Jeremy Pugh (Builth Wells) and Martin Weale (Llanbadarn Fawr) had joined forces to create the Action for Powys (Action for Council Tax in our neighbourhood) group.

This follows in the wake of a critical inspection by Estyn of the education service.

This saw the education portfolio holder, Cllr Myfanwy Alexander, moved sideways.

Two cabinet members resigned because she had not been removed, one of whom is Cllr Weale.

Local Democracy Reporter, Elgan Hearn, caught up with both of them to find out what the new group is all about.

Cllr Pugh said: “The people of Powys cannot afford excessive council tax, because the cabinet has failed to take the appropriate decisions.

“One of the reasons Martin left the cabinet is they won’t make the decisions that need to be made.

“It can be hard, but sometimes you need to cut off the hand to save the rest of the body and address this.”

Cllr Pugh added: “The reason why I left the group is at the last joint meeting, they were more interested in beating the liberal motion (vote of no confidence in Cllr Myfanwy Alexander) than they are in the education of our children.

“I stood up and said that, and at that point I realised it was time to leave the coalition, because they don’t have the same principles that I do.”

Cllr Weale’s legacy is the Powys Pound, praised by Sophie Howe, the future generations commissioner for Wales.

The Powys Pound is about PCC buying services or having local companies work on contracts for the authority.

The theory being that every pound spent is worth six for the economy.

So far the idea has seen £15 million spent since May 2017, which is worth an estimated £90 million.

Cllr Weale believes that the £55 million Mid-Wales Growth deal should harness the Powys Pound idea to be successful.

Cllr Weale said: “It’s set up, already working, imagine if they put £40 million of that behind the Powys Pound.

“We don’t need to re-invent the wheel, and should invest in local companies that are already up and running.

“You have a high percentage, something like 89 per-cent of businesses in Powys and Ceredigion are small, let’s help them by investing in them.

“The hardest thing in business is starting up. If you don’t go bust in the first year, most of the time things go well.”

Cllr Pugh added: “We would like to see PCC support young entrepreneurs.

“We have to invest in our own building companies by putting in the infrastructure that would allow them to build one or more houses.

“This would help give them a guaranteed income and be able to invest in apprenticeships.”

Cllr Pugh added: “I’ve said for a long time – that every department needs a business plan, Vision 2025 is just a pipe dream.”