Merging Local Authorities – An Undeniable Case for Referenda

Nowadays we have referenda for a wide range of decisions which affect the way in which we are governed. The Tory Party is split over whether the UK should stay in the European Union so the Prime Minister promises a referendum. The Scottish National Party needs a reason to exist so a referendum is called on the union. The Welsh Assembly has referenda on its powers at least once a decade – should it exist, should it make laws, should it levy taxes. There are local referenda to replace a council leader with a directly elected mayor. There are local referenda to create or abolish community councils. 

The Williams Report on Welsh public services recommends that local authorities should be merged, taken over or abolished. These are elected bodies which in all logic have as much democratic legitimacy as any assembly or parliament. The proposal is that the self government of places like Anglesey, Ceredigion, Wrexham, Bridgend, Merthyr Tydfil, Blaenau Gwent. Monmouth, Vale of Glamorgan should be ended. I personally am not persuaded that these places would be better governed through absorption into larger entities. But it should not matter what I think – the electorates in each of these places should be given the choice




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