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Big role for Welsh city regions in local government reform White Paper

Words: Roger Milne
Wales / iStock_000044372722

Public services minister Leighton Andrews has launched a White Paper setting out proposals for the reform of local government which reiterates the administration’s plan to cull the number of local authorities and highlights the importance of city regions: one based on Cardiff and south east Wales and the other on the Swansea Bay area.

Significantly the administration is ruling out at this stage the creation of so-called combined authorities as is happening across the border in England.

The White Paper stresses that the two city regions will require a “different order of leadership, one which looks beyond parochial interests".

It goes on to say that: "Local authorities must work together with their partners on matters such as the regional strategic plan proposed under the Planning Bill and making our cities and their surrounding regions attractive places for residents, visitors and business investment using the extensive powers at their disposal”.

The document proposes “a better-defined relationship” between national and local government with a clearly defined leadership role for the Welsh Government in such areas as economic development and the environment.

Andrews insisted: “ We will ensure value for money by cutting the cost of politics and management in local government, ensuring councilors reflect the diversity in their communities and ensuring the culture in local government is open to challenge and has involving and supporting its communities as its core value. This is about profound change in the way councils work and deliver for their communities. Our vision is for stronger, more representative local government delivering, and accountable for, quality local services which meet the needs of local communities.”