Public services cabinet secretary Alun Davies has issued new plans for council mergers, under which Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Monmouthshire would become a single authority. The government has proposed three options: allowing authorities to merge voluntarily, a phased approach that would allow early adopters to merge in 2022 with others doing so by 2026, or a single merger programme taking place in 2022.
The Welsh Local Government Association is unhappy about the shake-up. In a statement it said: “Local government was already responding proactively to the previous reform programme of regional collaboration and is progressing with the City and Growth Deal agenda. Consequently, this announcement has caused disquiet and confusion. The proposals are yet to be fully costed and most academic analysis concludes that such reform programmes rarely deliver the savings or changes in performance that were hoped.’’