Monday, 16 June 2014

Alas Smith and Jones on merging Councils.

One wonders if there has been collaboration between  First Minister Carwyn Jones  and  Shadow Welsh Secretary Owen Smith over Council mergers here.
On Friday Carwyn told BBC Wales he thinks some councils are incapable of improving education in their area.
He said that with six local education authorities (LEAs) in special measures it is impossible to have faith in the delivery of education across Wales.
Mr Jones argued it gives further urgency to the need to cut the number of councils from the current 22.
A cynic might think that our beloved First Minister is shifting blame anterior 15 years of failed Labour Education Policy in its tenure at the Assembly.

Meanwhile Owen Smith clearly affected with  the over the top BBC Wales Over the Top recent coverage for the Commonwealth Games has urged council leaders to "pick up the baton" and take the lead in reforming local government.
Mr Smith says councils should be trusted to drive any possible mergers.
In a report published in January, a Welsh government commission recommended the number of councils should be cut from 22 to 12 or fewer.
The issue will be high on the agenda when local government leaders meet for their annual conference this week.
The Williams Commission said public services could be delivered more efficiently by fewer councils and suggested a new local authority map for Wales.

Start Quote

It has to be driven by local government itself because that's the way in which we will end up with the best fit between local services and local people”
Owen SmithShadow Welsh Secretary

Labour's Mr Smith said councils were aware of the need for reform, but insisted it had to be a collaborative process and "not something this imposed from above".
"It has to be driven by local government itself because that's the way in which we will end up with the best fit between local services and local people," he said.
"I'm saying to local government leaders: 'It's up to you, pick up the baton now and challenge yourselves to renew and refresh yourselves'."
The Labour MP for Pontypridd added: "They need to be trusted to get on with it, but they need to get on with it."

Well  I don;t trust the Labour Party and I therefore don't trust our local council

Welsh Unitary Authorities

 Control Con   Labour LibDem UKIP Green Plaid Others 
Blaenau GwentLab 33    9
BridgendLab1393  110
CaerphillyLab 50   203
CardiffLab74616  24
Carmarthenshire  22   2824
Ceredigion  17  1915
Conwy 13105  1219
Denbighshire 9181  712
Flintshire 8307  124
Gwynedd  42  3732
Isle of AngleseyInd 2   1216
Merthyr TydfilLab 24 1  8
Monmouthshire 19113   10
Neath Port TalbotLab 52   84
NewportLab10371   2
PembrokeshireInd391  542
PowysInd1078   48
Rhondda Cynon TaffLab1601  94
SwanseaLab44911   8
TorfaenLab430   28
Vale of Glamorgan 1121 1 77
Wrexham 5234  119
Wales Totals 1055787020171328
Clearly with Labour running  so many of our councils it is in their interest to merge councils like Caerphily where Plaid have challenged with Blaneau Gwent  and Torfaen for Instance given them a almost secure hegemony. 

The report has concluded, as a minimum, the following local authorities should merge:

Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd
Conwy and Denbighshire
Flintshire and Wrexham
Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire
Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend
Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil
Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan
Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen
Monmouthshire and Newport

Mind you can anyone see Labour Cabinet members who will see their post and the lucrative pay increments passing to someone in another council ?
The idea that we simply merge existing boundaries and not have a rot and branch review is ridiculous it may be the simplest option

But Democracy is not simple and both Alas Smith and Jones should be leading it not,  passing the buck for others to sort out.

Lets consider a complete change  ensuring the maximum number people are near the hub of local government and at the same time if we are to change the ward boundaries copy Scotland and introduce STV.

Leaving it up to those who are running our current councils is a no brainier,

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