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Wales ministers lack council mergers business case

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The Welsh Government has admitted it has no business cases to support the map it published last month of proposed new council boundaries.

This map, issued by public services minister Leighton Andrews, showed the number of councils reduced from 22 to only eight or nine, even fewer than the 10-12 suggested last year by the Commission on Public Service Governance and Delivery.

Among the new proposals was that Conwy CBC should be merged either with Denbighshire CC, or alternatively with Isle of Anglesey and Gwynedd CCs.

Writing on his blog, Conwy chief executive Mohammed Mehmet said he had contacted a senior civil servant to ask for the outline business case behind the proposed boundaries.

“Guess what the answer was? Yep, there isn’t one!” Mr Mohammed wrote.

“Apparently simply publishing a ‘map’ is good enough.”

In a submission to Mr Andrews, Conwy argued that it and its neighbours were good performers and that reorganisation was unnecessary in North Wales. If forced to merge it would prefer the Denbighshire option.

Asked whether the Welsh Government had prepared business cases behind the options on the new map, a spokesperson said: “The case for change, including the reduction in the number of local authorities, was set out in great detail in the report of the commission and our white papers. Continuing to provide services with the current number and through existing service models is not sustainable.”

Formal consultation on a draft Local Government Mergers and Reform Bill would begin in November “which will also include a full draft regulatory impact assessment”, he added.

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