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Assurances have been sought by the Welsh Conservatives that powers and democracy aren’t going to be stripped from local authorities by Labour ministers.

Sam Rowlands MS, the party’s Shadow Minister for Local Government, questioned his Labour counterpart over Corporate Joint Committees in the Senedd today.

Corporate Joint Committees, which the Welsh Conservatives are against, will make decisions on regional transport, land use and promote economic wellbeing.

The Welsh Conservatives fear the new public bodies, which will be set up in North Wales, Mid Wales, South East Wales and South West Wales, will take powers away from local councils.

Mr Rowlands pressed Labour’s Rebecca Evans over what assurances she could give to councils across Wales that powers and democracy won’t be taken away because of these committees.

But Evans failed to give assurances over powers being stripped, instead insisting that “robust measures” to ensure “democratic accountability” are in place.

Speaking outside of the chamber, Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Local Government, Sam Rowlands MS, said:

“Having spoken to Welsh council leaders and councillors, it is clear I’m not alone in my concerns that these committees will strip power and democracy from local authorities.

“The aim of devolution was to give more power to communities, but Labour’s plans to create these joint committees will do the complete opposite.

“The Labour Government in Cardiff Bay constantly calls for more powers to be passed down from Westminster to Cardiff Bay, but then can’t bring themselves to devolve powers down to communities.

“It is sad to see that Labour obviously don’t think councils and local people are best placed to represent their communities.”

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