Statement from Cllr Moore on proposed new Local Government map
Published 18 June 2015
“Earlier today, the Public Service Minister Leighton Andrews presented another new map for Local Government in Wales, as a further option for consultation.
To say that I am bitterly disappointed that, yet again, the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s preferred option has been ignored, would be an understatement. It is even more galling when the same Minister had previously rejected our joint proposal for a merger between the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend Councils because it would cross a Health Authority Boundary (Cardiff and the Vale and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg). Yet this new proposal sees Bridgend join with RCT and Merthyr Councils and by doing so perversely crosses Health Authority Boundaries (Abertawe Bro Morgannwg and Cwm Taf). This is a bizarre proposal, as is the option to have three authorities in North Wales, which includes one that was also rejected as a voluntary merger (Conway and Denbighshire).
I am also disappointed that this statement still does not bring to an end the uncertainty and cloud hanging over Local Government in Wales and the people who both work within it and who rely on the services it provides. The Minister has stated: “I want to emphasise this is not a final decision. It is the next phase in our public debate. Following that, we will publish and consult on a draft ‘Mergers and Reform’ Bill in the autumn. This will include further, formal consultation on our proposals for local authority mergers.” This is less than helpful and in my opinion could mean that Local Government Reorganisation may not be a certainty, particularly in light of recent announcements from other political parties in Wales, who now appear to be making their opposition to these proposals known, albeit late in the day.
The Minister has also made further broad brushstrokes and adverse comments, which in my opinion do not apply to the Vale of Glamorgan. He has commented: “The current structure is failing to deliver quality services across Wales, with education services still in special measures in several authorities in Wales. Some authorities are simply too small to survive. The current system is costing council tax-payers millions on duplicated administrative services – as KPMG said last week, £151 million a year could be saved if all councils were as efficient as the best. We cannot go on as we are.” Yet again the Minister has used his comments to decry those Councils that are working well and providing a valuable service to their local communities, something that could be lost in the future if this latest proposal is agreed.
However, it is clear to me that there is still a task ahead in trying to persuade Welsh Government to rethink their proposals. Please be assured that I will continue to do my utmost and work for the best interests of the citizens and staff within the Vale of Glamorgan.
I will of course make further comments and statements as and when necessary.”