Sunday, 22 June 2014

Will Council Mergers lead to Civil War?

I am never quite sure what former  Bridgend  council leader  Jeff Jones s, now a local government consultant, (what ever that is actually stands for?

But U find myself in agreement with him in his  warning that   Big reductions in the number of Welsh councils would be a "disaster"
An independent commission, in January, recommended the 22 councils should be roughly halved. Welsh and  Labour's executive committee extended a consultation period over the issue at a meeting on Saturday to discuss the issue
But  Jones said council leaders were "struggling" with cuts and the idea mergers would help was "nonsense".
He told, told BBC Wales:
 "I think it's going to make a crisis into a complete disaster.
"I think this is where local authority leaders are really pulling their hair out.
"They're really struggling to make the cuts, and this idea that, somehow, mergers will make things better is complete nonsense.
"Even if in the long run you save money, in the short term you need money up front to make it work, and what is the long run?"

First Minister Carwyn Jones has called for substantial reductions in council numbers, insisting no one is in favour of the current set-up.
Leslely Griffiths, the minister responsible for local government, told last Thursday's Welsh Local Government (WLGA) conference she wanted "profound" changes to the way authorities work as a result of the reforms.
She has Councils who want to merge voluntarily will hold their first elections a year later in a bid to avoid “uncertainty”, 
Griffiths provoked fury from opposition parties after she told delegates at the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) annual conference that existing boundaries will be used for councils who want to stay the same for elections in 2017, but that she would legislate to allow councils that want to merge voluntarily to hold polls in 2018.
Lets face it the idea that local government reorganisation cam be simply done by Council Leaders meeting together and agreeing to simply merge  with no boundary reviews  or idea how resources will be distributed  is ridiculous.
Remember every council is undergoing cuts and may be dealing with them differently.
As a example take a council which  has decided to drastically cut services negotiating with one that has avoided doing so by dipping into reserves.
People may find that they in a new council where half have had Library closures and the other none.
it is possible we have new councils that are in a constant  state of "Civil War" between the merged authorities.
Constantly bickering and accusation of favouritism to one area.
Of course this happens with any Local Government reorganisation but the Williams commission plans which could have been written on a Beer Mat will make previous rows look like a storm in a teacup

1 comment:

  1. No discussion on electoral reform, and Williams was half hearted - I stick with what I have said in the past - we need to return to two tier authorities with powerful regions taking in the nominated bodies and joint boards and a lower tier of district authorities doing more local services. For me the reorganisation is not about saving money its about democracy and appropriate levels of administration.