The Welsh Government has abandoned its Green Paper proposal to replace the 22 unitary authorities with ten authorities, following almost universal opposition from the existing councils.
This is the second climbdown on the subject by the Government. A similar merger proposal by the previous Labour administration was dropped after Labour failed to win a majority of Assembly seats in the 2016 election.
Local government secretary Alun Davies told the Welsh Local Government Association’s annual conference last week that council mergers would only proceed through consent. This contrasts with his previous warning that councils must change or be changed.
His Conservative shadow, Janet Finch-Saunders, said 20 of the 22 authorities had rejected the proposed mergers in their Green Paper responses, with only Swansea in favour.
“The Welsh Conservatives made clear from the start that we felt this was top-down Welsh Government diktat and would not be welcomed by those within the sector,” she said.
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