Welsh ministers have resurrected a plan to reduce the number of councils from 22 to ten in their Green Paper consultation published on 20 March 2018. Controversial merger plans to cut the number of councils is Wales were dropped in 2016 after strong opposition from local authorities.
Local Government Secretary Alun Davies has highlighted the need for radical change so that councils are more efficient and able to provide essential and democratic services for their communities – fit for future generations. He is quoted as saying: “I do not believe that our local authorities, as currently constituted, can fully play this role; and I am not alone.” (BBC News, 20 March 2018) Options including a phased approach or voluntary mergers are being considered.
The current proposals have met with a mixed response. The Welsh Local Government Authority has expressed concern, while the Leader of Cardiff Council Huw Thomas feels councils need to be strengthened and approves of the approach. The Conservative Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council John Thomas said: “Typically there has been no meaningful discussion or engagement with councils, or more importantly the local residents that will be affected, ahead of these plans being published. It is my hope that this recent announcement represents the start of full and meaningful dialogue and the beginning of the end for these nonsensical plans.” (WalesOnline, 21 March 2018)
The consultation will end on 12 June 2018. You can learn more or have your say on the proposals by using the link here.