AS the Welsh Assembly Government and the Welsh Local Government Association make noises about council mergers hoping that local authorities jump before they are pushed Llanelli Online spoke to four local Councillors who represent the main parties. The Welsh Assembly Government’s plans, which comes after welsh council budgets face cuts of 3%, could see the total number of councils being reduced from 22 to 10, prompting concerns that councils might become more distant from their constituents.
We spoke to Cllr Terry Davies (Plaid Cymru), Cllr Rob James (Welsh Labour) and Cllr Siôn Davies (Welsh Conservatives). They were asked a series of questions about this possible merge with Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire and the option of joining with Swansea’s council, as well as the potential consequences of that choice.
These are some of the questions we asked:
- Could larger merged council’s with more devolved powers handed down from the Welsh Assembly Government be better?
- Could more sharing of services be better and more cost effective for the public?
- Should councils hand over the running of their services to outside organisations?
- Which council would you prefer Carmarthenshire County Council be merged with?
- What would the benefits of a merger be?
- What would the downside of a merger be?
Finally we asked if the Councillors could predict how the power sharing would work out. Would Llanelli be properly represented as it is a Labour stronghold whereas the majority of the areas, which would be part of the merger would be predominantly Plaid Cymru dominated, with the exception of Pembrokeshire, which has a Conservative representation. The debate can be viewed below.