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Reform of Welsh councils unveiled

Plans to cut the number of local authorities in Wales to eight or nine have been unveiled by the Welsh Government.

Public service minister, Leighton Andrews, said the case for local government reform in Wales was ‘compelling and widely accepted’, and would drive funding from administration into frontline services.

He also confirmed the government was dropping the proposal for term limits for elected members and the phasing of local government elections. The cap of 75 elected members per authority will also be removed.

‘This announcement provides further clarity on the future configuration of local authorities in Wales,’ Mr Andrews said.

‘The current structure is failing to deliver quality services across Wales, with education services still in special measures in several authorities in Wales. Some authorities are simply too small to survive.

‘The current system is costing council tax-payers millions on duplicated administrative services – as KPMG said last week, £151m a year could be saved if all councils were as efficient as the best. We cannot go on as we are.’

The Government will be debating two options for North Wales before deciding if the number of councils there should be cut to two or three.