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Welsh Government's Williams Commission recommends no change for Carmarthenshire Council

By Llanelli Star  |  Posted: January 20, 2014

Llanelli Town Hall

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THE Williams Commission has recommended that Carmarthenshire Council should remain unchanged, it has been announced today.

The Welsh Government commission was expected to recommend halving the number of local councils from 22 to 11 and also cutting around 800 councillors in a bid to save money.

But today's report, by former NHS Wales chief executive Paul Williams, considers how many areas of public services can be improved and made more accountable.

And it concluded that, as a minimum, the local authorities that should merge are Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd, Conwy and Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil, Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly and Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Newport.

It would mean 12 authorities - with Carmarthenshire, Powys and Swansea unchanged.

But using these mergers as building blocks, the report said, there were other viable possibilities resulting in 11 or 10 local authorities.

Swansea could merge with Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend to form a single local authority, giving 11 local authorities in total.

That single local authority would serve a relatively large population, although there are more populous local authorities in both England and Scotland. This would support current growth of a "vibrant economy" along the M4, said the report.

It is also an option to merge Carmarthenshire with Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire to form a single local authority, again yielding 11 local authorities in total.

Mr Williams said: "We are very clear that public services in Wales face severe and prolonged challenges.

"The effects of recession and austerity on public sector budgets will continue to be felt for many years. At the same time, our population is changing, meaning that the need for some of our most intensive and costly public services is bound to grow."

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