Council chairman pleased car row is making headlines

By Twm Owen in Local People

The councillor at the centre of a row over an executive car has said he’s glad the issue has hit the headlines.

Powys council chairman Dai Davies has been given use of a plush Audi A6 SE Executive 2.0TDi Ultra car as he was unable to drive a manual control Skoda used by his predecessors.

Cllr Davies has defended the use of the car and said he needed an automatic due to a disability.

The chairman, who is the public face of the authority, told a Brecon & Radnor Express reporter: "I’m glad you’ve rang me as it has been all over Facebook and the picture that has been used is of the top of the range car. We’ve got the very, very bottom of the range job."

The council’s decision to spend £28,000 on the executive car has been criticised by the council’s new Plaid Cymru group.

Its leader Cllr Elwyn Vaughan said: "It is a total waste of money and insulting and insensitive to the people of Powys."

The Plaid councillor said buying the car, which is valued at £37,000, was wrong due spending cuts hitting services to communities and council wages capped at 1%.

Cllr Davies, who from 2012 to 2015, was the cabinet member responsible for looking after the county’s finances, was elected chairman at the council’s annual general meeting in May. Council chairmen hold the post for a year.

Powys council leader Rosemarie Harris said buying the car is cost effective for the authority.

She said: "The role of chairman of Powys county requires a car to carry out civic duties effectively. The current chairman has special physical requirements which require specific adaptation that were not available on the previous vehicle.

"The council investigated a number of financial options including annual hire, lease and purchase, with outright purchase taken up because it was the most cost-effective and provided the best value for money for the authority."

A petition opposed to the decision, set up by Plaid Cymru in Montgomeryshire, has already attracted more than 660 signatures.

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