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Axed councillors form a new political group

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Three Powys councillors have been axed from the cabinet and have formed a new political group as the county council bids to plug a £40 million shortfall in funding.

Councillor David Jones, Powys County Council leader, said the move was "difficult but necessary" as he attempts to create long-term stability for the authority, where staff face job losses.

Councillors Myfanwy Alexander (schools), Garry Banks (localism) and Graham Brown (commissioning) have lost their cabinet positions. It is not yet known who has replaced them.

Councillor Alexander, member for Banwy and Councillor Brown, member for Llandrinio, have now defected from the Shire Independent Group to form a new Independent Group, which is believed to be made up of 12 councillors and led by Councillor Brown.

It is understood Councillor Jones now leads a minority group and is seeking coalition with the Powys Independent Alliance's 24 members.

In a statement, Councillor Jones said: "Powys is facing unprecedented financial challenges with a projected £40m shortfall over the next three financial years and the council needs greater stability than ever before to deliver the transformational changes demanded.

"By co-operating with each other we can create a legacy we can be proud of, not just oversee a series of cuts. We will be judged by the services we leave not those we take away, there will be difficult decisions but we have to face them.

"My decision to change the cabinet was not taken lightly."

Traditionally, the majority of Powys council candidates stand as independents and those elected come together after polling day to form groupings and an administration.

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Councillor Brown said he believed the leader now had a group of three councillors, including himself, but had no further comment.

Councillor Alexander added: "The leader of the shires group, who is also leader of council, was considering forming a joint cabinet with the Powys Independent Alliance.

"His group voted against this on three separate occasions, with the final vote being taken on Friday, with six in favour and 17 against. He decided to ignore the democratic wishes of his group and has formed his new cabinet, sacking three of his current team in the process.

"With considerable regret, I found myself unable to stay."

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