There are a great many more bright ideas in the Reform Party - the clue is in our name. 

That is to say, in response to David Thomas’s letter, we wish to modernise the UK’s institutions. No one can observe the quality of government in this country and suggest the institutions of the ‘State’ are working. 

This principle is at the heart of my suggestions in relation to Powys County Council. 


Reform of local government in Wales must come with streamlining the statutes to which Mr. Thomas refers (a new model of local government obviously implies this anyway). 

The present structure dates to 1974 and 1996. 1974 was pre-computerisation; 1996 was pre-digitalisation and only in the very early age of the Internet. 

Computerisation and digitalisation should mean much lower administrative costs.

Instead, these remain almost a quarter of Powys’s budget (£1 in every £4). Do we really need 68 paid councillors each earning £20,000 and expenses to supervise officers? How effective is this supervision and committee system given the never-ending sense of crisis and drama at County Hall?

Thirteen councillors and a reduced cabinet - working more days and hours for perhaps a more generous salary - is, in my opinion, a leap into the dark worth taking.

Fewer councillors will also mean hiding from scrutiny becomes harder.  

All of these ‘economies of scale’ Mr Thomas refers to do not exist. Powys has higher council tax than many areas in England which retain the old dual ‘district and county council’ model. 

Where have administrative savings been achieved since Montgomeryshire District Council was abolished in 1996? The answer is that they haven’t been. Powys’ budget and Council Tax continue to reach new highs. 

All of the merits in my arguments do not overcome the basic logic of my policy: most of Powys’s population and most of its economic activity is in Montgomeryshire, but most of Powys’s decision making and officers are a 3/4 hour round-trip away in Llandrindod Wells. 

Plaid Cymru, as a party of nationalism, is naturally inclined to ‘thinking small’; perhaps a little bit of ‘thinking big’ would help Mr Thomas see the merits in long-overdue reform of local government. 
Oliver Lewis, Reform UK