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Local councils “stitch-up” won’t wash with people of Wales – Peter Black

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have claimed today’s Labour announcement of proposed local government mergers are a “party-political stitch-up”.

The announced maps, proposing either eight or nine local authorities, is a departure from the original Williams Commission proposals which recommended between ten and twelve.

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.

“The Welsh Liberal Democrats will not support any local government reform that doesn’t bring power closer to people or change the voting system. People are sick and tired of the way they vote not accurately reflecting who represents them, and the use of STV in Scotland has shown that it really does work on a local government level.

“Let’s not kid ourselves that the other parties have real alternatives. No expert worth their salt is recommending sticking with 22 councils, yet Plaid and the Tories seem adamant to shove their heads in the sand and pretend that nothing needs radically changing.”