THE PROSPECT of mergers between local authorities in Wales has taken a step closer after the Welsh Government formally endorsed the Williams report.

Local Government Minister Lesley Griffiths AM unveiled a consultation paper on the future of local governance in Wales yesterday after a statement from First Minister Carwyn Jones AM welcoming the report.

The white paper, entitled 'Reforming Local Government', will now give an opportunity to the nation's 22 local authorities to make their views known on potential future council mergers.

Lesley Griffiths said: “Reforming Local Government sets out the Welsh Government’s ambitions for Local Government in Wales.

"We want Local Authorities which are designed for the 21st Century so this White Paper is about reform in every sense of the word.

“Merging Local Authorities is part of this, but changing the way Councils make decisions, improving how they connect with their communities and developing how they scrutinise and improve their own performance are as important to achieve better services and outcomes for the people of Wales

Anglesey Council Leader Ieuan Williams has already voiced his objection to a voluntary merger with Gwynedd Council.

Cllr Williams said: “Authorities across Wales are in danger of becoming side-tracked by the Williams Report, when they should be concentrating on providing the best possible services for residents.

“We face a sustained period of unprecedented funding cuts, which will unfortunately impact on the way we deliver services, as well as residents, communities and Council staff.

“It’s vital, therefore, that we focus on the important issues like transforming key services such as education and adult social care.

"We’re already making good progress in these areas and many others and we’ll continue to focus our energies on the matters which make a real difference to the lives of Anglesey residents.”