Plans revealed to merge Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff councils

A REPORT proposing a massive shake-up of local authorities in Wales has recommended the Vale of Glamorgan be merged with Cardiff.

The Williams Commission report said the total number of councils should be slashed from the current 22 to as few as ten and that the changes must be agreed by Easter this year at the latest.

Former NHS Wales chief executive Paul Williams has looked at areas of public services which could be improved and made more accountable, but opposition AMs have expressed concerns about loss of local identity and costs.

The report recommends new councils should be within current health board and police force areas and should not cross the geographical areas governing eligibility for EU aid.

The report said reorganisation would lead to costs, but these could be recouped in up to 30 months and savings following that would be significant.

The report said: "Meeting the costs of change is a matter for the Welsh Government to determine, but we believe that any funding model should reflect the fact that reform will benefit the whole public sector, not just smaller local authorities.

"We found clear and significant evidence of economies of scale.

"Smaller local authorities typically pay up to £50 more per citizen in corporate and democratic costs than larger ones.

“If the unit costs of all local authorities were reduced to the levels of the largest, the annual savings would run into tens of millions of pounds."

The Welsh Government will now consider the report.

* What do you think? Contact reporter Sharon Harris on 01446 704979.

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