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.
This announcement provides further clarity on the future configuration of local authorities in Wales. It sets out our preference for the future structure in south, mid and west Wales while facilitating further discussion around north Wales. The case in north Wales is finely balanced between two or three local authorities. We therefore feel that there is a case for a further debate and would welcome views. I want to emphasise this is not a final decision. It is the next phase in our public debate.
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.
More top news
Catch up with tonight's Wales at Six with Jonathan Hill.
South Wales Fire and Rescue and Gwent Police are working together using modern technology to help prevent grassfires.
A letter signed by both Carwyn Jones and Nicola Sturgeon spells out the key points in their stand off with the UK Government over Brexit.