Crunch Time for Welsh Labour and Welsh Democracy

Tomorrow the Labour Group of Welsh Assembly members will decide whether to back the Cabinet’s proposal for ten new local authorities as recommended by the Williams Report.

Here are a number of good reasons for the Labour Group to turn down these proposals:

  •  There is no evidence that fewer local authorities will provide local services any cheaper or better; just look at the comparative performance of large and small local authorities in Wales and elsewhere in Europe.
  • Large local authorities will increase the distance between government and communities in all parts of Wales; leading to a withering away of Wales’ attachment to progressive social democracy.
  • The recent KPMG report makes sensible proposals for reducing administrative costs without the expense and distraction of wholesale reorganisation.
  • The WLGA has made sensible proposals for key strategic activities to be undertaken by regional combined authorities; activities such as planning, economic development, school improvement, health and social care commissioning.
  • Proposals for the abolition of various local authorities risks electoral losses for Labour in seats such as the Vale of Glamorgan, Neath, Bridgend, Merthyr, Caerphilly, Torfaen and Newport; as voters reject take over by neighbouring authorities and party members lack any campaigning motivation.
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