LABOUR emerged as the party with the most elected councillors on Monmouthshire council following last week’s local elections.

The group has 22 councillors elected – two short of a majority – leaving the council with no overall control, but there is confidence within the party of forming an alliance with the Independents and Green Party members to form an administration.

Outgoing Conservative council leader Richard John has said the Labour group will be given “the time and space” to form an administration as the largest party on the council.

While a change in political leadership would not result in any immediate changes to services such as bin collections, it would bring a change of direction over the next term.

In its election manifesto, Labour pledged to tackle poverty and inequality in the county, having previously criticised the Conservative-led council’s progress on the issue.

One of the group’s key priorities in the election was to provide more affordable housing in the county, with its manifesto pledging to “establish a housing company and build on publicly owned land – no more asset disposals”.

It also said the party would “enforce 50 per cent plus affordable housing on all new housing sites”.

There is a shortfall of almost 500 extra affordable homes per year in Monmouthshire.

The party has also said it will increase council tax on second homes and empty properties, while developing safe accommodation for homeless people.

An interesting pledge in the manifesto was that the group said it would prioritise affordable housing for key workers in the county.

However some of the proposals could face obstacles as the council is currently at odds with the Welsh Government over its house-building plans.

The Welsh Government has told Monmouthshire council to reduce the number of new homes it plans to build over the coming years in its new Local Development Plan over concerns it will impact on growth in other areas of south east Wales.

Other pledges made by the party in its manifesto include investing in high streets and working with businesses to create green jobs.

A focus on improving public transport could also be expected, while the party has said it would “fix potholes within our first term of office”.

The Labour group has said it would also work more closely with colleagues in Welsh Government, to provide support for residents on issues such as the cost of living crisis.

It said that it will work with the Welsh Government “to maximise the resources coming to Monmouthshire”.

Monmouthshire council has been the lowest funded council in Wales, per head of population, for several years.

Some members within the Labour group have also previously called or a re-think of the council’s approach to commercial investments, following the £21-million purchase of Newport Leisure Park.

More consultation with residents on issues has also been pledged by the party if it is in control of the council.