Voluntary merger with Merthyr ruled out.
RCT Welsh Liberal Democrats have welcomed the news that a voluntary merger between RCT and Merthyr Councils has been ruled out.
After the calling of a special Council meeting next week to discuss the issue it had been feared that a surprise u-turn was to be sprung on Members just two days before the official response on a possible merger was due to the Minister.
However, the Cabinet discussed the issue as an urgent item on their agenda today (20th November) and it seem a voluntary merger is not an option.
Welsh Liberal Democrat Councillor and Pontypridd Parliamentary candidate Mike Powell said
"We very much welcome this news and many of the comments contained in the report.
We have made it very clear that we are against a merger with Merthyr, whether on a voluntary basis or forced by the Minister. It is pleasing to see the Council leader agrees with our comments, made in our submission to the Welsh Government consultation, that RCT is large enough to stand alone and that if there are to be changes then there are other options which should be considered."
The Welsh labour Government plans a reorganisation of Councils across Wales, reducing the number from 22 to around 12. The Minister responsible, Rhondda AM Leighton Andrews had agreed with suggestions made by the Williams Commission regarding a number of possible mergers. Council who agree voluntarily to join will have financial incentives and will have the election put off until 2018.
Councillor Powell added
"The Welsh Liberal Democrats do not argue with the concept of a reduction in the number of Councils. However, any change has to be carried out with due regard to circumstances and to a wide range of public service. You cannot simply stick two adjoining Councils together. I would have thought that this is one occasion where all parties can agree that RCT is a big enough Council to stand alone.
"Of course the Mr Andrews and the Welsh Labour Government can still press ahead with forced mergers in the coming months. It would, I am sure, not make him very popular amongst his constituents."