Report recommends merger of counties across North Wales

Reporter:

Iwan Berry

COUNCILS across North Wales could be merged to better serve residents, if advice given in a new report is adopted.

The Williams Report - discussing the possible re-organisation of local authorities and services throughout Wales - was published today, with recommendations for mergers across North Wales.

The report, compiled by former Welsh NHS chief Sir Paul Williams, recommends that the existing 22 authorities be re-organised in to larger authorities - with between just 10 or 12 covering the whole of Wales - described as the "minimum" required level of change in the report.

Among the recommendations are the unification of Conwy and Denbighshire councils, and the merger of Anglesey and Gwynedd councils.

The existing 22 authorities were created in 1996, re-organising the eight counties and 37 districts created in 1974.

The mergers are recommended as some of the solutions to problems faced by Wales as public spending decreases, while pressure increases on public services.

A foreword to the report by Sir Paul Williams said that such problems were "mutually reinforcing", and demanded "equally interlinked solutions"

The foreword adds: "Without the changes we propose, we believe that Wales would see a progressive failure of services on which our citizens and communities rely.

 

"It is far better to invest in reform now, before it is too late, and to create a public sector and services of which we can all be proud, rather than face prolonged and ultimately unsustainable cuts to frontline jobs and services."

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