Austin Macauley 07 October 2014

Welsh council considers merger options

Rhondda Cynon Taf is to investigate the pros and cons of merging with neighbouring authorities.

The council said its response to the Welsh Government’s consultation on voluntary mergers must be based on a strong business case.

The Williams review of local government in Wales, published earlier this year, recommended a merger of Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil councils.

Council leader Andrew Morgan said that while the local authority already jointly delivered a number of services with Merthyr, it did not necessarily mean merger was the right option.

‘For us to take the right approach in the best interests of Rhondda Cynon Taf, its services and our residents, we must undertake a detailed assessment of what our options are,’ said Cllr Morgan.

‘Only after assessing what is possible and what the potential benefits may be both financially and for services can we provide an informed response to the Welsh Government.

‘We may wish to argue that an authority the size of Rhondda Cynon Taf could feasibly argue to stand alone when you consider the economies of scale we already achieve when compared to neighbouring authorities, but we cannot strongly defend our position if we have not explored what opportunities there may be.’

He said the council would discuss options with other local authorities before submitting a response.

‘It may be that another one of our neighbouring authorities may, and I stress only may, offer a better result from consideration of a merger.’

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