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WELSH MAY SEEK INDEPENDENCE OVER POLICY DIFFERENCES WITH LGA

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Welsh councils are poised to break away from the Local Government Association in response to the increasing policy ...
Welsh councils are poised to break away from the Local Government Association in response to the increasing policy divergence between England and Wales since devolution.

The Welsh Local Government Association is consulting its 22 members on whether the association should remain part of the LGA, seek associate membership or pursue full-blown independence (LGC, 25 July).

Although a decision is not expected until the end of the year, a consensus is understood to be building among Welsh councils that ties must be loosened with the LGA.

Pauline Jarman (Plaid Cymru), leader of Rhondda Cynon Taff CBC, said divergences in education and social services made a compelling case for a stand-alone WLGA, along the lines of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.

'I think there are now sufficiently significant differences between the two organisations, and there is a consensus developing that we want to move as far as we can towards the COSLA model,' she said.

Alex Aldridge (Lab), leader of Flintshire CC, said the time had come for the WLGA to become an organisation in its own right, while maintaining links with London.

'It is not a divorce, it's part of the evolution of local government and a natural progression,' he said.

'We don't have to be tied together with an umbilical cord or joined at the hip.'

The WLGA working group set up to carry out the consultation is due to report back in December.

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