The Labour, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrat and Conservative leaders were brought together for the first time in the election campaign by the Welsh Local Government Association.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Michael German warned of the experience in Europe, where the regional tier tended to take power from councils. 'We don't want that to happen here.' To prevent that meant fewer controls on local government but greater scrutiny, he said.
Plaid Cymru leader Dafydd Wigley repeated his party's manifesto pledge to campaign for the Assembly to have more power. Its limited scope would make devolving power difficult, he said.
A more critical note was sounded by Tory leader Rod Richards, who attacked the increasing politicisation of local government. But Mr Richards stressed how important it was that the relationship between the two tiers got off to a good start. 'Sadly local government does have an image problem,' he said.