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Peter Black AM responds to Williams Commission report

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Peter Black portrait (Richard Thomas)Responding to the Williams Commission's report, Peter Black, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for Local Government, said:

"The Williams Report is an extensive piece of work and it is simply too early to address each point individually.

"The proposal to cut the number of councils will likely grab the majority of the headlines. While I support reducing the number of councils, this report is about more than that. We need a wholesale change on how local government works in Wales. This is about ensuring we get cost effective, efficient and accountable public services delivered at the right level.

"I believe it is essential that councils, especially if they will now be larger, gain more powers and responsibility. Devolution must not stop at Cardiff Bay.

"When we are contemplating the third restructuring of local service delivery in 40 years, we must make sure that we get it right. That means that we need to consult widely on the report's recommendations and properly debate them. It is imperative that the Welsh Government shows leadership on this issue.

"The Williams commission says the period of change will take around three to five years. I support this timeline, however I also urge caution. The next local government reorganisation must be for keeps. We cannot afford to be considering ripping it up and starting again in 15 or 20 years time.

"I'm prepared to support re-organisation if we get it right. That means having councils which are representative, with a fair voting system such as the single transferable vote, so that the outcome of elections are reflected in the way councils are elected."

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