The forced merger of councils in Wales will be delayed until after the National Assembly for Wales elections in 2016, following a deal between Plaid Cymru and the Labour Welsh Government.
Plaid Cymru said it had stopped Labour's ‘centralisation agenda’ and pledged to let the 22 councils work together as combined authorities.
However, the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) said continued speculation around local government reorganisation had been ‘making life intensely difficult’ for local authorities that were trying to reform services in the face of financial pressures.
It is calling for all leaders and parties to be involved in national talks next May to determine the future for public services.
A spokesman for the organisation said: ‘This is taking place in a wider context within which the key issue facing local councils is not a distant restructuring in 2020, but the impact of the UK Spending Review where cuts to local services ranging from between 25 to 40% are being explored at Westminster.
‘With the Labour-Plaid agreement struck today it is essential that the Welsh public is fully involved in any plans to reorganise and reform local councils.’
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