Welsh council reform plans to be rewritten

Mark Drakeford, the new local government secretary, has said the plans to shake-up councils in Wales is due to be redrawn.

Drakeford made the comment in an interview with Sunday Politics Wales, where he claimed he was looking for a ‘wider sort of conversation’, adding that the initial proposals to reduce 22 councils to eight or nine had been dropped.

The news comes after the plans were criticised by opposition parties in the assembly, with labour council leaders claiming the country could save more money by working closely together.

However, Drakeford maintained that he was ‘not committed to any particular solution... we've got to be prepared to have a wider sort of conversation’.

He said: ”People are very willing to agree that there are challenges facing local government that have to be faced up to and have to be solved. Lines on a map is part of it, but only one part of it.

He added: ”The reality is that we couldn't in the last assembly - and we know that we couldn't in this assembly - summon the votes together to put that map into legislation. We must accommodate ourselves to that reality and find a different way forward."

Janet Finch-Saunders AM, Welsh Conservative spokesperson for local government, said: "Any plans going forward must be declared as soon as possible with maximum transparency, and need to be done in consultation with all parties, key stakeholders and - above all - local communities."