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OPENING STATEMENT BY LORD RODGER ON WELSH REORGANISATION BILL

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The Local Government (Wales) Bill was read a second time in the House of Lords yesterday with the Lord Advocate of ...
The Local Government (Wales) Bill was read a second time in the House of Lords yesterday with the Lord Advocate of Scotland, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry, introducing the bill.

In his opening statement Lord Rodger said there are powerful reasons for reforming the local government system in Wales to equip it for the challenges of a new century.

'Few people would deny that the changes of the 1970s cost Wales some of its cultural cohesion. Pembrokeshire, Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire still retain quite distinct identities and have not sat and do not sit comfortably together in Dyfed. Local people do not identify with the new county but with the historic shires. The Bill will go a long way towards restoring that cultural cohesion and that sense of belonging.'

The Lord wen on to say it was not often clear to Cardiff residents who provided them services, whether it was the city or county council.

'The problem is not simply one of there being two tiers of local government. it is compounded by the fact that the two tiers share responsibility for certain functions.'

And, Lord Rodgers went on to say that the existence of authorities at two levels is a burden on the tax payer that should be avoided. Elections to the new authorities are likely to be in April 1995, he added.

PLEASE SEE FOLLOWING ITEMS FOR MORE DETAIL ON THE DEBATE.

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