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.