VALE COUNCIL MERGER WITH CARDIFF IS CALLED OFF

Welsh Labour Government Minister Mark Drakeford has dropped proposdals to merge the Vale of Glamorgan with Cardiff

Welsh Labour Government Minister Mark Drakeford has today dropped proposals to merge the Vale of Glamorgan with Cardiff

Sir Paul Williams's report has been consigned toe the shredder

Sir Paul Williams’s proposals for council mergers  has been consigned to the shredder

Until now the Welsh Labour Government had been attempting to implement the recommendations of a report it had commissioned from Sir Paul Williams – the so-called “Williams Report” – which had advised that the existing  22 councils in Wales be reduced to ” 8 or 9” through a series of mergers.

The Labour-run Vale of Glamorgan Council had however, resisted the recommendations in the Williams Report that it should be merged with Labour-run Cardiff Council  – putting it at odds with the Labour-run Welsh Government.

But then came the Welsh Assembly elections in May this year in which the man leading the charge to force the councils to merge – Assembly Member Leighton Andrews – lost his safe Labour seat to Plaid Cymru .

Labour Leader Carwyn Jones - after hearing that he had tied with Leanne Wood in the election for First Minister. Unkind critics called him "Cry-Baby Carwyn"

Labour Leader Carwyn Jones appeared to be emotional after hearing that he had only tied with Leanne Wood in the May election for First Minister. Unkind critics called him “Cry-Baby Carwyn”

  • The Labour Party failed to win a majority in the Assembly – and failed  to get Labour Leader Carwyn Jones automatically re-elected as First Minister when – evidently to his discomfiture – Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood attracted an equal number of the votes of Assembly Members, making the outcome a tie.
  • A coalition deal was then stitched together with the LibDems’ single remaining AM –  Kirsty Williams –  which enabled Labour to form a government as the largest party,  but it meant that the council merger plans were put on hold.

Now, however, Drakeford says all 22 councils in Wales will – instead of being merged down to “8 or 9″  –  be asked to “work together”  to improve public services , although the option of  “voluntary mergers” will be made available to them . Drakeford said he was setting out on a “shared service journey” with a “new determination”.

The Wlesh Labour Governemnt's Local Government secretary Mark Drakeford spelling out his much-revised proposals for re-organisation of councils in Wales

The Welsh Labour Government’s local councils supremo Mark Drakeford spelling out his much-revised proposals for re-organisation of local authorities and town councils in Wales

He sees a “two-footprint” model for local authorities – some occupying a “city region” and the others covering territory already served be specific health boards – but his comments were generalised and not specific.

Drakeford also announced that he will carry out a independent review of the role of town councils – like Penarth Town Council  and community councils . He said there was enormous variability in this tier of local government and he is  to commission the production of a blueprint to get the maximum out of town and community councils. He is also to enact what he called “a series of immediate arrangements to help town councils –  as they exist today – to become more effective “

Janet Finch-Saunders AM Conservative Aberconwy

Janet Finch-Saunders AM Conservative Aberconwy

Commenting on today’s 180 degree U-Turn by the Welsh Government on its council merger plan,  Conservative AM Janet Finch-Saunders said: “We were pleased to see the Welsh Government abandoning plans to force councils to merge, but the next steps must be properly thought through – not rushed out without due consideration.

She said of the Welsh Labour Government – “once again they’re doing things the wrong way around.”

The Conservatives claimed Labour’s climb-down was really down to its enforced pact with Plaid Cymru – the alliance which enabled Labour to retain power in the Welsh Assembly.

Sian Gwenllian of Plaid Cymru

Sian Gwenllian of Plaid Cymru

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Cabinet Member for Local Government , Sian Gwenllian said tonight she was pleased that Drakeford had “confirmed that he will perform a U-turn by scrapping Labour’s plans to force unpopular mergers and to maintain the 22 authorities.”

She said “Plaid Cymru wanted to see councils co-operate under a regional model, and to be charged with planning strategically for services, education, transport and the integration of health and social care. However, the government’s plans as announced today on integrating Health and Social Care are not clear. Plaid Cymru wants to see them developed further in order to deliver a seamless service for patients.”

Plaid also says the Welsh Labour Government will need to “outline where democratic accountability lies within the new system, and much consideration needs to be given to this as the plans progress.”

About NewsNet

Penarth Daily News email address dmj@newsnet.uk . Penarth Daily News is an independent free on-line fair and balanced news service published by NewsNet Ltd covering the town of Penarth in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales, UK. All our news items are based on the information we receive or discover at the time of publication and are published on the basis that they are accurate to the best of our knowledge and belief at that time.
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13 Responses to VALE COUNCIL MERGER WITH CARDIFF IS CALLED OFF

  1. Christopher David says:

    Jeezzz disaster. Scrap the VOG altogether. We only need four regions in Wales. The whole of Wales population wise is only a tad bigger then Some regional councils in England and Scotland. For example. Population Of Manchester 2016. Manchester is a city in England with a population of around 514,417 in the year 2013. It is situated in the United Kingdom’s second most crowded urban region, having a population of 2.55 million. Jan 19, 2016.Source UK pop2016. Wales has c 3 million. Drakeford was a wimp in health and now look what we have!

  2. Clive says:

    A very disappointing missed opportunity to make local government more efficient and probably more effective. Makes Welsh Gov look subordinate to Local Gov. That’s a fail!

  3. Anne says:

    Government adopts Plaid Cymru proposals to retain 22 local authorities. Read @siangwenfelin’s response here: http://www.plaid2016.wales/retain22localauthorities_cadw22awdurdodlleol

  4. Christopher David says:

    “Plaid Cymru wanted to see councils co-operate under a regional model, and to be charged with planning strategically for services, education, transport and the integration of health and social care. However, the government’s plans as announced today on integrating Health and Social Care are not clear. Plaid Cymru wants to see them developed further in order to deliver a seamless service for patients”. Plaid must be the daftest party in the country- i.e. UK. Led by Fluffy Leanne who thinks its fine to spend £half a billion a year supporting a Welsh language, they also believe 22 mostly squabbling little Hitler administrations (with VOG possibly the worst) will be more efficient than four professional ones. Although the later in nigh on impossible with our political talent and ability.

  5. Leyton Jones says:

    The WG is an a national embarrassment. This is a flagship policy to structure what is a tiny country and micro politics wins over national interest. I’m a supporter of self rule but by golly these people are just not up to it.

  6. Peter Church says:

    Labour controlled WAG helps Labour controlled councils across Wales to keep party seats and to keep spending your money on salaries, pensions and wasted bureaucracy.
    22 authorities is just barking mad.

  7. David Moorcraft says:

    I don’t know if the WAG’s attempt to bulldoze councils together was well-advised , but yes , 22 Councils in a small country like ours is unjustifiable.
    But, like many suffering under the Vale Council, I could wish Penarth was joined with Cardiff, with which we are historically linked.

  8. Christopher David says:

    And banking bad- our money into their pockets.

  9. david kerslake says:

    WAG are a joke we had hutt then drakeford now gething as health ministers none of them had a clue about running the health service .Abolish the WAG

  10. penarthblog says:

    I would favour the creation of a Greater Cardiff Council to replace the 10 in the South East.

  11. whatsoccurin says:

    Having worked for local govt for years I foresee another layer of “virtual” government with lots of well paid co-ordinating posts where managers bicker about who does what-an example I saw was an Authority who had a hospital social work team who organised support for discharged patients-often straightforward but many patients overestimate their fitness and after a couple of days realise that they need support-attended many meeting about whether “regular” team or hospital service should arrange this-also why cannot HR admin for Wales be carried out in one place-surely a cleaner or dinner lady putting in a time-sheet is the same whether it is in Anglesey or Monmmouth!

  12. Colin Davies says:

    what an absolute joke… better get used to failing services and council tax sky rocketing!!!

  13. snoggerdog says:

    with all the building up at the billys maybe we’ll have a land slip &be conjoined with grangetown,what would that new area be called ?

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