TORY claims that Powys County Council is “barely” functioning under the Liberal Democrat/Labour administration have been branded as “ludicrous” by the council leader.
Powys Conservatives have attacked the ruling administration and claim that recent “failures in school transport and recycling” have angered residents who want a Council Tax refund.
The group claim that concerns have been aired about “the poor quality of services provided by the council since the elections of May 2022,”when they lost their grip on power.
The say that the weekly recycling collection is now “almost” a three weekly service in rural areas.
Powys Tory leader, Cllr Aled Davies said: “At times, it barely feels like the council is functioning, the Liberal Democrat/Labour run council needs to get a grip.
“Recycling issues have been problematic since last summer and they are not getting any better.
“This current council inherited a new fleet of collection vehicles when they came to power in May 2022, and instead of continuing to invest in the service they substantially cut that investment at their first budget.”
He claims that “dedicated officers” are being asked to do the “impossible” by the Liberal Democrat/Labour Cabinet.
The group also claim that on the first day of the new school term, “further” concerns have been raised that children have been denied access to school transport.
Conservative Cllr Gwynfor Thomas is chairman of the learning and skills committee which scrutinises education and highlighted these problems months ago.
Cllr Thomas said: “Despite pleas by fellow councillors and myself, children and families have been left in a desperate situation not knowing where to catch a bus.
“It appears common sense is no longer an approach which is adopted by the authority.”
Liberal Democrat council leader Cllr James Gibson-Watt has responded to the criticism
Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “The idea that this has only arisen since May 2022 is ludicrous.
“I recall similar problems occurring during the previous council period, when Cllr Davies was deputy leader of the council, and Brexit has had a part to play in the recruitment problems.
“The claim that residents are waiting three weeks for recycling collections is also ludicrous.
“Officers report that the maximum wait any resident has had to suffer is two weeks and one day.
“These problems are long-standing ones in the North of the county, mainly caused by the difficulties Powys council and many other local authorities are experiencing recruiting staff to work in waste and recycling.”
Moving on to school transport issues, Cllr Gibson-Watt said: “Powys provides transport for about 5,500 pupils every school day.
“There are always a few problems at the start of the school year, while new bus drivers, pupils and parents get used to the system.
“I recall pupils being left at the side of the road on a couple of occasions during the previous council when Cllr Davies was the cabinet member responsible for school transport.
“These problems are usually quickly resolved and will be this time.”
Cllr Gibson-Watt apologised to those affected by this issue and added that “we will endeavour” to sort them out as quickly as possible.