The Williams Commission is due to report to the Welsh Government before the end of this month on proposals to reorganise Local Government, drastically reducing the number of Councils in Wales. The suggestion 'leaked' and reported on Wales Online this week was that they should be cut in half, leaving only eleven councils rather than the 22 we have now.
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats have been in favour of this idea for some time. There are too many councils in Wales costing far too much. Twenty two Chief Executives on substantial salaries, along with layer upon layer of management under them. Little or no opportunity for regional or cross border planning for major projects involving economic development for example. It is not sustainable and makes too many demands on an ever shrinking public purse. All political parties in Wales agree on this issue so the fact that it will happen at some point seems in little doubt.
The question now is what exactly are they proposing? There is nothing quite like a reorganisation of boundaries to bring out the parochial qualities in all of us. There was huge consternation at the merger of councils to form Rhondda Cynon Taff, and almost civil war over what the name should be.
What will the new proposed boundaries look like? There will of course be widespread consultation and everyone will have his or her own idea on what is best. There will be clashes within and between political parties as the campaign gurus try and figure out what might suit them best politically and individual local parties fight their own corner - hopefully, and certainly in or case, for what is best for their residents. Some may even battle against the whole idea- there are certainly some who think big is not beautiful.
There have been increasing instances of Merthyr and RCT working together, and they are both part of Cwm Taf Health Board so that may appear to be an obvious move. Or a return to a more Mid-Glamorgan type model with Bridgend thrown in for good measure. On the other hand there could be a split of RCT, with maybe the Pontypridd constituency joining with Cardiff and Rhondda and Cynon becoming part of a 'valleys' authority.
It will be very interesting to see what the Williams Commission suggest.