Leighton Andrews, Rhondda AM and Minister for Public Services, this week revealed his master plan for the reorganisation of Councils in Wales. He plans to cut down the number of Councils from 22 to 8 or 9, but his revamped map has met with criticism from all sides, even within the Labour party. In fact he was applauded by the largely Labour WLGA (Welsh Local Government Association) when he joked that he was thinking of retiring himself soon.
The Labour Deputy Leader of Flintshire Council took to Twitter saying "@DeansOfCardiff @LeightonAndrews I hope he enjoys his last few months in work! #politicalsuicide"
He also tweeted "Final nail in the coffin for LOCAL gov, @welshlabour will soon be in the wilderness for a generation, time for change at the top!!"
The proposals would see RCT merged with Merthyr and Bridgend in a Local Authority almost on a par with the old Mid Glamorgan. The problem is that when Mid Glam existed we also had District / Urban Councils in Rhondda, Cynon and Taff Ely as throughout Wales. To introduce these large Councils now without that would remove democracy further away from the people.
We agree that there should be fewer Councils in Wales and fewer Councillors, but this is not the way to go about it. We also need a fairer voting system that better reflects the wishes of the electorate.
Peter Black AM, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Local Government Minister, said: "Shoving together existing councils in a botched party-political stitch-up serves no-one aside from the Labour party and their quest to cement their position in Wales and hoard power in Cardiff Bay.
"The whole point of setting up an independent Williams commission was to remove party political influence from this process, and avoid gerrymandered maps like the ones presented to us today.
"If we're going to have sustainable reform that lasts more than 20 years, unlike the previous two reorganisations, then we need to start from scratch. Give the independent Boundary Commission the task of coming up with a fresh map which actually works, instead of using the same old tired building blocks."