Welsh Government plans to slash its number of councils

22 Mar 18

The Welsh Government plans to reduce the number of councils in the country from 22 to ten, a green paper released this week has revealed.

The document, which went out to consultation on Tuesday, is seeking views on a range of ways to do this - from voluntary mergers, to a phased approach with early adopters merging first, to a comprehensive merger programme.

It noted that the “Welsh Government has protected funding for local government in Wales, against a backdrop of reducing budgets from the UK government” while spending on local services in the country went up by more than 4% between 2010-11 and 2017-18.

“In these circumstances, continuing with 22 authorities often doing the same things in different ways 22 times over is not sustainable.”

Alun Davies, local government and public services cabinet secretary, said reducing the number of councils would allow services to remain sustainable in the face of cuts.

“Wales needs strong, effective, empowered local authorities which can weather continued austerity and build local democratic structures fit for future generations,” he stated.

“I do not believe that our local authorities, as currently constituted, can fully play this role; and I am not alone.

“Councils have been clear that services are wearing down to the point of collapse and there is a general acceptance that things cannot carry on as they are and a general acknowledgement that more money, even if it were available, would not solve the problem.”

Davies – who said he had spent the last few months meeting local authority leaders - cited a need for “radical” change to combat austerity measures.

The consultation document added: “Changing the size and number of local local authorities is not an end in itself.

“Its purpose is to provide a platform for radical transformation and long term sustainability and retain the functions and responsibilities of local government, which have been widely accepted and agreed as the best for Wales.”

By combining authorities the average population of the new authorities would be just over 311,000. The current smallest authority - Merthyr Tydfil- stands at just 59,810.


The councils which are due to be merged are as follows:

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

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