Council Leader's statement to Council
20 March 2015
The following statement was made to a meeting of full Council on 04 March 2015 in response to the rejection of the voluntary merger proposal submitted by the Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend Councils
We have just agreed the minutes from the previous Council which related to the expression of interest that we submitted to Welsh Government.
As we all know the Minister rejected the bid, along with all the others including the one in North Wales that was coterminous with the Williams map.
I would like to make it perfectly clear about my bitter disappointment and indeed anger at the Minister’s rejection of the bid.
The bid was very comprehensive and covered all the areas that were required of it, as an expression of interest.
The bid covered the situation of crossing the convergence and health boundaries, but the excuse used not to allow us to continue was because it did not meet Option 1 of Williams and crossed a health boundary.
What is most galling is that both the Leader of Bridgend and I met with the Minister and put it to him that we wanted to consider a voluntary merger and emphasised that IF there would be an issue particularly around the health boundary we would not waste our time. He gave no such indication, albeit we accepted that he could not give us a ‘green light’. We emphasised the fact that our residents already use ABMU services and that will not change, so there was no rational argument that this artificial boundary would be a barrier to a merger.
I am even more astounded at his decision particularly as we had the support of both Health Authorities and indeed our cooperation with ABMU has subsequently been strengthened and both the Deputy Leader and the Head of Adult services met with the ABMU chair, Chief Executive and officers from the Health Board and Bridgend Council and had a very successful meeting.
I echoed my disappointment with the Minister when he informed me of his decision and was very critical how he could reject the EOI and did not allow us to prove the business case that we could indeed work across these artificial health boundaries that exist on the ‘NHS’ where the ‘N ‘stands for National meaning that wherever I am in this country the NHS is available for me to use, free at the point of delivery and not restricted to the Health Authority in which I live. However, as usual my sentiments fell on stony ground.
I will finish here by saying that I think this regrettable decision also lays bare the false accusations that were thrown at me in the last meeting of being bullied by either the Minister or my party, both of whom I believe have failed me, this Council and the residents we represent.
It is now awaited with baited breath a new map, indicating where this Welsh Government thinks our fate should lay. If I was a betting man I would guess it will be 7 Authorities, mainly based on the same spurious health boundaries.
As far as I am concerned the fight is not over and they still have to get the legislation through in the next Welsh Parliament or whatever it will be called, although it would not surprise me if one of the other Parties may have done the deal already, particularly if I am right there will be two Authorities across North Wales.
However, whatever the result, I will continue to do what I believe is the right result for the residents of the Vale of Glamorgan.
Cllr Neil Moore
Leader of the Vale of Glamorgan Council