Council Mergers

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  • #70806

    Born Acorn
    Participant

    Even if everyone voted, at the end of the day massive budget cuts (in the millions of pounds) have been made to local governments and the council has and will still have to cut back a lot of services.

    Can the man on the street tell you what should be cut at the expense of other services, or would they just vote to keep their own local facilities? When the council cut back grass cutting everybody went on a massive moan until it was reinstated..

    #70836

    clix1
    Member

    It has nothing to do with democracy. Its purely a cost saving exercise.

    #70810
    Alunh
    Alunh
    Participant

    @clix1 16911 wrote:

    It has nothing to do with democracy. Its purely a cost saving exercise.

    Which might actually mean an excellent exercise in democracy. Personally, I like the idea of less government using money wisely. If its a question of government by passing Councils and giving the money direct to schools, then great. What better than Headmasters and Governors deciding who spends what. Why have multiple tiers of administration which eventually ends up with Councillors spending money in 22 authorities and billing us for their work. Cost saving is a noble exercise in democracy

    #70811

    johnhoppy
    Participant

    The announcement today that Leighton Andrews has rejected the proposed voluntary mergers makes it apparent that he has his own agenda regarding these mergers. I would not be surprised if the counties of Gwynedd and Clwyd are revived in more or less their previous areas.

    Why did he bother asking councils to propose voluntary mergers when they would not have been approved anyway? Dictatorship at its best!! No doubt the money ‘saved’ will contribute to the extra 10/20 AM’s (mostly Labour of course) which are being proposed for the Welsh Government.

    #70813

    PhilWynn
    Participant

    @alunh 16914 wrote:

    Which might actually mean an excellent exercise in democracy. Personally, I like the idea of less government using money wisely. If its a question of government by passing Councils and giving the money direct to schools, then great. What better than Headmasters and Governors deciding who spends what. Why have multiple tiers of administration which eventually ends up with Councillors spending money in 22 authorities and billing us for their work. Cost saving is a noble exercise in democracy

    Alan I agree with you on the point that there are too many politicians telling us what is best for us and thinking nothing about taxing us for this privilege.

    Sadly full-time politicians need to justify their own existence by continually churning out policies, which then have to be paid for by us all. This for me is where our Welsh Assembly is heading, with probably 40 more AM’s appointed in the near future.

    The progress of the EU I would argue needs to be checked likewise before the opportunity is lost forever for the general public to do so.

    As for locally elected representation I would like to remind everyone that the bulk of a County Councillor’s time is spent representing constituents who are seeking solutions to problems in their lives, which Wrexham Council exists to serve.

    If we move to larger authorities then our wards may well double in size, which will either result in us being paid to work a five day week (rather than for 3 days) or will mean constituents will be provided with less support than they currently enjoy.

    For the more abled like yourself such support may be classed a luxury but I can assure you there aren’t many days that go by when a constituent or group on my ward are not seeking my support through the Council maze of staff and departments.

    My view is the cost of local democracy needs to be reduced in line with the budget pressures being placed on other services provided by the Council, whilst retaining local representation which hopefully can make a difference.

    Cllr Phil Wynn

    #70814

    PhilWynn
    Participant

    @johnhoppy 18269 wrote:

    The announcement today that Leighton Andrews has rejected the proposed voluntary mergers makes it apparent that he has his own agenda regarding these mergers. I would not be surprised if the counties of Gwynedd and Clwyd are revived in more or less their previous areas.

    Why did he bother asking councils to propose voluntary mergers when they would not have been approved anyway? Dictatorship at its best!! No doubt the money ‘saved’ will contribute to the extra 10/20 AM’s (mostly Labour of course) which are being proposed for the Welsh Government.

    I believe its 20 or possibly 40 AM’s, at an additional cost of circa £17m.

    I suppose many will argue getting rid of half of the elected County Councillor’s in Wales is a price well worth paying to fund such an expansion of our Welsh Assembly.

    For the record I disagree.

    #70834

    CVA01
    Participant

    @The Monitor 16801 wrote:

    I notice that areas throughout the UK are being given more local powers. This equates to a greater division of areas into More authorities, and greater local democracy. This in turn leads to a more democratic representation at the higher levels of government.

    How is it that the Welsh Assembly Government is working in reverse to this policy by proposing to force the merging of local areas and so reducing the democratic process in Wales?

    I think it is obvious which procedure I support.

    You?

    This only partly true. There are moves towards devolution in England but it is only in some areas. England is not being divided into new authorities. The combined authorities that have been formed are, with the exception of the North East, just an unelected joint authorities that take on a strategic role over the areas covered by the former metropolitan county councils that existed from 1974 to 1986. They dont have the same powers as the Greater London Authority. None have directly elected assemblies and only one (Greater Manchester) will have a directly elected mayor.

    There are, currently, no similar proposals for the rest of England. The two English counties bordering Wrexham (Cheshire and Shropshire) underwent local authority MERGERS in 2009. If anything, the trend in England is likely to be for more mergers – the abolition of some of the remaining two tier authorities in favour of unitary authorities is an idea which just wont go away. This would be achieved via the merger of districts into unitary authorities and abolition of counties (as in Cheshire) or the abolition of districts and the establishment of a county wide unitary (as in Cornwall).

    Finally if we look at England, it doesnt even have its own elected government. It is governed by the British government. This is profoundly undemocratic. The governance of England is in far more need of reform that Wales, which at least has its own devolved assembly.

    #70819

    JaneJ
    Participant

    Phil I actually agree with some of your points I do however take issue with your assertion that Council Members spend 3 days a week on their Council ‘work’. Please show me the evidence that you and your fellow colleagues actually spend this amount of time on Council business.
    As an honest Councilor can you really say that all of your colleagues send this level of time.
    Regarding increasing the number of AMs — not sure how on some of your thread you look for more things to be devolved from Westminster- surely if this is the case then there needs to be more AMs to oversee these new powers — you cant have it both ways. Also if WG remove some of the powers from Local Authorities is that not justification for reducing the number of Councilors.
    In Wales there are 1,254 Councilors 3,063,000 – this means every Councilor on average represents less than 2,500 people. There are 62 Assembly Members representing an average 49,000 for five days a week. The decision making in some element may be further away from the population but their actual representative role has to be more cost effectuve

    #70815

    PhilWynn
    Participant

    Interesting link on BBC Wales re today’s developments.

    BBC News – Dismay at council merger rejections by Leighton Andrews

    It’s a good job all 22 authorities didn’t volunteer to merge back in November, as that would definitely of resulted in Leighton Andrews calling Local Authorities not fit for purpose, based on his announcement today to slap the six willing authorities in the face.

    We will now just have to wait for our Welsh politicians to get their next cigarette paper out, so they can redraft their plans for local authorities, local democracy, the futures of the staff employed and the citizens of Wales that rely on the services provided by local authorities.

    I just wished the people of Wales had woken up back in March 2011 to the Yes No referendum on more legislative powers for the Welsh Assembly.

    #70816

    PhilWynn
    Participant

    @janej 18299 wrote:

    Phil I actually agree with some of your points I do however take issue with your assertion that Council Members spend 3 days a week on their Council ‘work’. Please show me the evidence that you and your fellow colleagues actually spend this amount of time on Council business.
    As an honest Councilor can you really say that all of your colleagues send this level of time.
    Regarding increasing the number of AMs — not sure how on some of your thread you look for more things to be devolved from Westminster- surely if this is the case then there needs to be more AMs to oversee these new powers — you cant have it both ways. Also if WG remove some of the powers from Local Authorities is that not justification for reducing the number of Councilors.
    In Wales there are 1,254 Councilors 3,063,000 – this means every Councilor on average represents less than 2,500 people. There are 62 Assembly Members representing an average 49,000 for five days a week. The decision making in some element may be further away from the population but their actual representative role has to be more cost effectuve

    I can’t speak for others but until recently I had made the decision to commit myself full-time to the role of County Councillor since being re-elected in May 2012. Sadly being of working age, with no silver spoon, I’m reassessing the need to return to paid employment as £13k pa doesn’t stretch that far.

    As someone who took a keen interest in the Yes No Reforendum back in 2011 to oppose more legislative powers for our Welsh Assembly, I hope I’ve never given the impression that I believe our Welsh Assembly is worthy of more autonomy to run our country.

    If anything on the performance of the Welsh Labour Party’s handling of our NHS,
    our education standing in the UK never mind the world, Ambulance waiting times, economic wealth generation or lack of and now this debacle of local government review I would happily see the Welsh Assembly shut down tomorrow.

    Now that would save £50million over-night.

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