The former Welsh Secretary Redwood says the system of 22 Welsh local councils, each with its own education authority, was created in response to calls from Welsh MPs and local councils, who were mostly Labour. Mr Redwood was responding to a speech by the Education Minister, Leighton Andrews.
– Education Minister Leighton Andrews AM
I would not have invented 22 local education authorities for a nation of 3 million people. No-one sensible would. John Redwood did.
– Former Welsh Secretary John Redwood MP
I was asked to create the new councils and Welsh local government wanted more, not fewer of them. The only serious criticism was over Powys.
Mr Redwood says he was told that smaller councils would co-operate and not run everything themselves when they took over in 1996. He had inherited from his predecessor, David Hunt, plans to scrap the existing eight counties (which were local education authorities) and 37 districts
Mr Redwood spit up Mr Hunt's Heads of the Valleys authority and created the two county boroughs with the smallest populations, Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent. But he refused to divide Powys into three smaller authorities, although Labour and the local Tory MP both backed the idea.