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The Welsh Local Government Association has said that today's proposals to shake up local councils offers no further assurances for council tax payers in Wales. It warns that bills could rise dramatically without a clear approach to how council tax will be adjusted when there's a merger between councils that have been setting different rates.
The WLGA says there's no consensus between the councils and the Welsh government about today's proposals. It says they add to the maps and options set out in the Williams report last year but do not provide additional clarity or certainty. The councils say that with no political agreement, reorganisation will take at least five years and warn that disruption, distraction and uncertainty will continue.
The Welsh Government has published its plans to shake up local government. The current 22 local authorities would be replaced by either eight or nine new councils, with the only question left open is whether north Wales should have two councils or three.
The plans go further than the Williams Commission proposals for between 10 and 12 councils. The idea of following health board boundaries has also been rejected, with Bridgend grouped with Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil rather than Swansea and Neath Port Talbot.
But to get its plans through, Labour will have to win an outright majority at next year's Assembly election or do a deal with another party. All the opposition parties have other ideas so today's map is not yet a done deal.
The full list of proposed mergers is:
- Gwynedd, Anglesey and Conwy
- Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham
- Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire
- Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
- Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil
- Cardiff and Vale of Glamorgan
- Newport, Monmouthshire, Torfaen, Blaenau Gwent and Caerphilly
Powys would remain unchanged and the option of merging Conwy and Denbighshire into an additional county is also on offer.
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Wales had 13 counties that hardly changed for centuries. then politicians got into the habit of shaking up councils every 20 years or so.