ANTI-POVERTY champion at Powys County Council, councillor Joy Jones has joined the Powys Independents group.

Cllr Jones who represents Newtown East has been a non-aligned councillor staying out of the political group structure at county hall for several years.

The new political force on the council, the Powys Independents group unveiled their new recruit over the weekend.

Cllr Jones’ move which takes the group up to 16 members which sees them once again overtake the Conservative group to become the biggest opposition group at county hall.

Following their victory in the Rhiwcynon ward by-election which was only last Tuesday (June 4) the Conservative group had drawn level with 15 councillors.

Cllr Jones said: “I am really pleased to have joined up with my independent colleagues in forming a strong opposition group.

“Together we are stronger and have a greater understanding of developments as they happen, which can only be for the benefit of all our residents across Powys.”

Powys Independents joint leaders Cllrs Bevereley Baynham and Ange Williams said: “We are delighted to welcome Joy as a member of the Powys Independents Group.

“She is a vastly experienced and highly respected county councillor and will be a valued member of our growing group as we continue challenging the ruling coalition to help get the right outcomes for our residents.”

The Powys Independents group formed just ahead of the council’s annual meeting last month when two groups of independent councillors merged and were joined by two non-aligned councillors.

In April, the council’s Democratic Services committee decided to recommend to the full council scrapping the role of member champions, including the anti-poverty role which has been held by Cllr Jones since 2014.

At the council’s annual meeting in May, the chair of the Democratic Services committee was taken over by Cllr Graham Breeze of the Powys Independents group.

The new council make up is:

Minority Administration

Liberal Democrats – 22.

Labour – 9.

Green Party – 1.

Opposition groups.

Powys Independents group – 16

Conservatives – 15

Plaid Cymru – 3.

Non-affiliated councillors – 2