Shock news on council merger
Following the publication of the Williams Commission, the stimulus is now in place for the Welsh Government to press ahead with Local Government reorganisation. There are many wide and varying opinions on whether this is achievable, affordable and whether it will actually deliver in real terms the changes that are needed and the efficiencies required.
This week saw the Local Government bill published and presented to the National Assembly for Wales. The Minister Leighton Andrews AM released a statement on Tuesday called Paving the Way towards setting out the plans for voluntary merging authorities and other improvements required for Local Government in Wales.
On Tuesday many AMs were bewildered and bemused by the decision of the Local Government Minister Leighton Andrews AM to reject the Voluntary Merger Pro- posal put forward by Conwy and Denbighshire County Borough Council. This came as such a shock considering that this was the only actual qualifying application that fitted in with the Williams Commission recommendations and the mapping requirements.
There was huge disappointment as both authorities, to include the leadership, officers and elected members have spent months working through t posals in a strat and conscientio manner and wer preparing to go through to the next stage.
This is such a let down especially when Conwy County Borough Council have seen a very poor settle ment once again b the Welsh Lab Government, pilin more pressure fo charged with the delivery of our most vital and important public services.
This decision now raises many questions and indeed many concerns as to whether there is a move by the Welsh Labour Government to see a further substantial cut to the number of Local authorities in Wales to a number as low as six, thereby taking services very far away from those they serve. This has previously been hinted to by the Minister n earlier plenary n and it is clear currently there is ry little support r these forced mergers to go ahead.
Next week sees yet another white paper released that would have ed to a draft bill or consultation n further propos
for Local Govment reorganisaut it remains to be o what the direction of travel will be.