Newport council leader cool on merger plan with Monmouthshire

Newport council leader cool on merger plan with Monmouthshire

Newport council leader cool on merger plan with Monmouthshire

First published in News

THE leader of Newport council has suggested that the city should seek closer economic co-operation with Cardiff rather than a merger with Monmouthshire.

Bob Bright is the latest senior Gwent Labour politician to express concern over the findings of the Williams Commission, which proposed that the number of local authorities in Gwent be reduced to two. “I am asking for the situation to be looked at again,” said Cllr Bright.

He said Newport had little affinity with Monmouthshire but suggested it is a “hub for the Valleys”, while it is economically close to Cardiff.

The Argus asked him if he would prefer a merger with Cardiff. “No, but when Cardiff’s economic cup runs over I want it to run in this direction.”

He added: “I would argue for autonomy, with closer economic co-operation with Cardiff.”

Cllr Bright spoke to the Argus after his cabinet meeting earlier this week where he said he didn’t believe the Williams report was a “clear document at the moment”.

“We need to examine the Williams proposals very, very carefully,” he told cabinet members.

Under the proposals from the Williams Commission the number of councils in Wales could fall to as few as ten, with Newport and Monmouthshire merged.

A new Valleys authority for Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen and Caerphilly would also be created. All Welsh council leaders have backed calls for urgent discussions with First Minister Carwyn Jones.

The Welsh Local Government Association, led by Torfaen leader Bob Wellington and with Cllr Bright’s support, has said it will explore an alternative set of proposals.

Cllr Bright is one of the 14 members of the South East Wales city region board, which aims to boost investment across a region stretching from Cardiff to Monmouthshire.

Labour Torfaen AM Lynne Neagle and Gwent Labour MPs Chris Evans and Paul Murphy have also expressed concerns, with Ms Neagle saying spending millions on shaking up councils would be a tough sell to an elderly person having their meals on wheels cut.

Mr Murphy also warned the Welsh Government to be “very, very careful” in spending millions on council reorganisation.

Comments (9)

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9:20am Wed 12 Feb 14

Woodgnome says...

Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?
Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd? Woodgnome
  • Score: 16

9:34am Wed 12 Feb 14

Mr Holder says...

In other news, turkeys don't vote for Christmas.
In other news, turkeys don't vote for Christmas. Mr Holder
  • Score: 2

9:55am Wed 12 Feb 14

blackandamber says...

Woodgnome wrote:
Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?
Don't forget the EU and the Wag also surplus to requirements.
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?[/p][/quote]Don't forget the EU and the Wag also surplus to requirements. blackandamber
  • Score: 10

10:06am Wed 12 Feb 14

Mr Holder says...

blackandamber wrote:
Woodgnome wrote:
Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?
Don't forget the EU and the Wag also surplus to requirements.
Quite, the split of the councils in Gwent suggested in the Williams report was principality decided on the basis of E.U funding, not that the media in Wales reported on it. Another example of the unelected E.U having direct consequences on local democracy in the U.K.
[quote][p][bold]blackandamber[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?[/p][/quote]Don't forget the EU and the Wag also surplus to requirements.[/p][/quote]Quite, the split of the councils in Gwent suggested in the Williams report was principality decided on the basis of E.U funding, not that the media in Wales reported on it. Another example of the unelected E.U having direct consequences on local democracy in the U.K. Mr Holder
  • Score: 5

11:27am Wed 12 Feb 14

Llanmartinangel says...

Woodgnome wrote:
Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?
And don't forget the 400 civil servants recently taken on at WAG just as all the other public sector is correctly being cut back. We will reach a point where the only jobs here are taxpayer funded and there are no wealth creators left to fund them. Bonkers.
http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/uk-wales-polit
ics-25849068
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?[/p][/quote]And don't forget the 400 civil servants recently taken on at WAG just as all the other public sector is correctly being cut back. We will reach a point where the only jobs here are taxpayer funded and there are no wealth creators left to fund them. Bonkers. http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/uk-wales-polit ics-25849068 Llanmartinangel
  • Score: 13

5:03pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Bobevans says...

Newport will do everything it can to try to avoid operating efficiently. It has made no real attempt to do so and prefers to cut services and put up council tax in order to keep growing its empire.

There is no reason as all as to why services are not shared between several councils in South East Wales. We do not need every little council duplicating functions and management

WE need to take the axe to at least 30% of the councillors
Newport will do everything it can to try to avoid operating efficiently. It has made no real attempt to do so and prefers to cut services and put up council tax in order to keep growing its empire. There is no reason as all as to why services are not shared between several councils in South East Wales. We do not need every little council duplicating functions and management WE need to take the axe to at least 30% of the councillors Bobevans
  • Score: 4

5:21pm Wed 12 Feb 14

33daverave says...

One dept. at Telford Street has 6 managers on on the same scale doing basically the same job which could be carried out by 3.Yet you never see management laying themselves off, just the frontline staff.
One dept. at Telford Street has 6 managers on on the same scale doing basically the same job which could be carried out by 3.Yet you never see management laying themselves off, just the frontline staff. 33daverave
  • Score: 2

6:24pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Jkke16 says...

Jobs for the boys - that's what Bright is thinking about. From an educational perspective (that's my background) it's crazy.
In South East Wales we have a consortium overseeing education - the Education Achievement Service (EAS). They provide a service to Newport, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent and I must say they're doing a great job at raising standards. Now sitting next to them is each LA that still retains statutory power on education but in terms of schools offer nothing. Each LA has a director of education (under many different names and admittedly BG and Newport are sharing) but these roles are no longer needed. A rough calculation suggestions their combined wages would be £450,000 pa if all 5 had them. That's just one example.

You add together the wages of everyone involved and the negative social impact some councillors have and it's massive. Add in the infrastructure and running costs and it's even bigger.

All I hear in my job is 21st century learning - it's about time we had a 21st century council and leadership structure in place - and not jobs for the boys with the old school tie and special handshakes.
Jobs for the boys - that's what Bright is thinking about. From an educational perspective (that's my background) it's crazy. In South East Wales we have a consortium overseeing education - the Education Achievement Service (EAS). They provide a service to Newport, Torfaen, Monmouthshire and Blaenau Gwent and I must say they're doing a great job at raising standards. Now sitting next to them is each LA that still retains statutory power on education but in terms of schools offer nothing. Each LA has a director of education (under many different names and admittedly BG and Newport are sharing) but these roles are no longer needed. A rough calculation suggestions their combined wages would be £450,000 pa if all 5 had them. That's just one example. You add together the wages of everyone involved and the negative social impact some councillors have and it's massive. Add in the infrastructure and running costs and it's even bigger. All I hear in my job is 21st century learning - it's about time we had a 21st century council and leadership structure in place - and not jobs for the boys with the old school tie and special handshakes. Jkke16
  • Score: 2

7:31pm Wed 12 Feb 14

Jonnytrouble says...

Woodgnome wrote:
Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?
Bob knows best ?????
Listen to Bob !
LOL !
[quote][p][bold]Woodgnome[/bold] wrote: Is there anyone left in Wales (apart from Bob and other self interested) that does not think we have far too much government and far too many Councillors in Wales and that 22 authorities are totally absurd?[/p][/quote]Bob knows best ????? Listen to Bob ! LOL ! Jonnytrouble
  • Score: 1

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