IT BECAME fairly obvious yesterday that the reduction in the number of local authorities in Wales is still very high on the Welsh Government agenda

Local Government Minister Lesley Griffiths told council representatives in no uncertain terms at their annual conference in Llandudno that mergers first mooted in the Williams' report had to happen.

Taken alongside the comments made by First Minister Carwyn Jones almost a week ago about his loss of confidence in the ability of some authorities to improve their education services, it now seems more likely than ever that mergers will follow.

This is despite the issue having gone very quiet since the Williams' report first suggested reducing the number of councils in Wales.

We don't think there is anybody in Wales who supports the status quo. Having 22 local authorities in Wales is just no longer sustainable. Quite simply some of them are just too small to deliver the services needed.

The problem is that in the current climate, where all councils are desperately trying to make savings, there still seems to be little or no appetite among their number, to engage with the mergers proposed in the report.

We suspect that the only way this whole project is likely to move forward will be with direct Welsh Government intervention.

If the Welsh Government and Carwyn Jones want this to happen they are going to have to make it happen.