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Mayor call for south Wales valleys

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A think tank is recommending that the south Wales valleys have a democratically elected mayor.

John Osmond, director of the Institute for Welsh Affairs and editor of a new study making the call, said academics from across the spectrum were all broadly agreed on the kind of things that needed to be done for the area.

"We need to improve housing, we need more investment, improve transport, upgrade the skills and so on," he said.

The study says existing local government across the valleys would continue to carry out broadly its current range of functions, avoiding the necessity for a costly reorganisation.

Those local authorities are named as Blaenau Gwent CBC, Blyth Valley BC, Merthyr Tydfil CBC, Bridgend CBC, Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC and Caerphilly CBC.

Mr Osmond described the area as the most problematic older industrial area in the whole of the UK and said there are a whole raft of policies that are needed, given the funding.

He said everyone agreed something needed to be done; the question was how do you do it.

"That's what got us to think that we need some strong executive authority to ensure implementation. Otherwise we have to adopt the kind of fatalistic approach that the valleys will be enduring for ever decline as it has been for the last hundred years."

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