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Cost of merging councils 'up to £268m'

Credit: J.M. Guyon/Candybox Images/PA Images

The upfront cost of merging Welsh councils could range between £160m and £268m.

That's according to the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)

But it also says this is offset against potential savings of £65m a year across all councils after a three year period.

In the study CIPFA Wales evaluated a number of areas where the costs of transition and recurrent savings are likely to be significant.

These included people change costs, including redundancy, of up to £158m; property, systems and other change management costs of around £54m and income forgone because of council tax harmonisation of at least £57m.

With over half of the UK Government’s consolidation plan still to be realised, all political leaders need to be honest with the public about what the future holds and what action is needed. Indeed in our recent Manifesto for the 2015 election, one of our calls was for all decisions on spending and services to be taken in the context of medium to long-term financial sustainability.

– Rob Whiteman, CIPFA Chief Executive


Monmouthshire Council to discuss budget proposals

The council needs to make £9 million worth of savings next year Credit: PA

Monmouthshire council will meet today to decide how they can make cuts to their budget.

Ideas suggested by councillors so far include dimming some street lights and raising the cost of school meals.

The authority needs to save £9m in its budget for the next financial year and £20m over the next four years.

The council asked members of the public for their ideas last year and said it was looking seriously at some of them.

These included setting up a lottery, which could raise money for specific projects, increasing the price of school meals and reducing street sweepers.

Councils across Wales are currently reviewing services in response to a reduction in their budgets from the Welsh government.

Cardiff council due to discuss budget cuts

Local authorities across Wales are facing budget cuts Credit: ITV Wales News

Wales' biggest council will meet today to decide how millions of pounds of savings will be made to its budget.

Last week, Cardiff council's cabinet approved a report which looked to save almost £50m from its budget for the coming financial year.

The report includes proposals which would cut the equivalent of around 600 jobs and raise council tax by nearly 4%.

The council may face cuts of around £120m over the next three years.

Earlier this week, Powys County Council postponed their decision until March.


Caerphilly Council tax to rise by 3.9 per cent

Councillors at Caerphilly Council have approved budget proposals Credit: ITV News

Caerphilly County Councillors have approved a series of budget proposals for the forthcoming year at a council meeting this evening, which will see savings across the council for 2014/15 in excess of £14.2 million pounds.

Councillors also approved plans for a 3.9% increase in Council Tax, which in monetary terms equates to a 69 pence per week increase for a Band D property in Caerphilly county borough.

Members also supported plans to further increase the Living Wage by an additional 20 pence per hour, which will ensure that thousands of the council?s lowest paid staff earn at least £7.65 an hour, an increase of 20 pence from £7.45 as currently.

Report expected to call for fewer councils

A report into the way public services are run here in Wales is expected to recommend a radical reduction in the number of local councils. The Williams Commission was appointed by the Welsh Government to look at the way services are organised and to suggest ways of improving their efficiency.

It's widely expected to say that Wales has too many local authorities and that rather than 22 separate councils there should be far fewer. Some reports suggest it will recommend halving that number through mergers instead of drawing up new boundaries.

Councils have warned that reorganisation will be difficult, expensive and could lead to thousands of job losses.

  1. Nick Powell

Councils warned of bigger cuts to come

Welsh Councils are being warned of a bleak financial climate, with deep spending cuts lasting until 2021. A report to be launched a Welsh Local Government Conference later today says public services in Wales face a hugely challenging future following spending cuts and reforms to the welfare system.

It claims that three-quarters of public spending cuts are yet to come and that although there'll be some protection for the most important services, the unprotected ones could be cut by 52%. The report was commissioned by the Welsh Local Government Association, the WLGA.

This timely report acts as a wake up call on the true severity of the current and long-term financial crisis in public spending in Wales. Such large cuts, in addition to those already made ,will be difficult to achieve without affecting the range and the quality of services. Councils may be forced to cut, or scale back, spending on a vast array of services. Local government in Wales faces a hugely challenging fiscal situation for many years to come, and we will need to innovate, and we will need to mitigate against the negative effects of spending cuts and welfare reforms.

– Cllr Aaron Shotton, WLGA Spokesperson for Finance
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