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WELSH EXODUS FOLLOWS LONG-SERVING SEVERANCE PAY

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Some of Wales' best known councillors are to quit following the introduction of severance payments for long-serving...
Some of Wales' best known councillors are to quit following the introduction of severance payments for long-serving councillors.

Four leaders are standing down ahead of the June elections, although not all their councils have signed up for the scheme.

Sir Harry Jones (Lab), leader of the Welsh Local Government Association and Newport City Council, heads the exodus of high-profile names. He has taken up a 'golden goodbye' after 31 years.

WLGA chief executive Sandy Blair paid tribute to Sir Harry, who is tipped to be on his way to the Lords, describing him as a 'remarkable and dedicated servant' for Newport and Welsh local government.

Also stepping down are Neath Port Talbot CBC leader Noel Crowley (Lab) and Torfaen CBC leader Brian Smith (Lab), whose councils accepted the scheme, along with Bridgend CBC leader Jeff Jones (Lab), whose council rejected it.

Further departures are expected as a result of the Welsh Assembly's scheme of severance payments, to which eight of Wales' 22 councils have signed up.

The assembly was unable to give figures for the take-up across Wales as councils do not have to supply figures until they seek reimbursement after the local elections.

But in Newport, 13 out of 23 eligible councillors took the payment.

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