ALL Conwy's political leaders have forcefully condemned the Welsh government attempt to abolish the county borough.

Twice before local authorities in Wales have fought off government plans amalgamate councils

Council leader, Gareth Jones, last Thursday, told the full council the proposed reforms do not address the huge problems that face Conwy and other councils in Wales.

Leaders from the seven groups on the authority subsequently declared their hostility to the proposals which would see Conwy merged with Denbighshire.

The proposals are being promoted by proposed by Alun Davies, the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Local Government and Public Services. He published a consultation document which states: “The rationale for change is simple and urgent. Wales needs stronger local government, equipped to address the challenges we face.

“The creation of larger authorities appears to be the best option and indeed the only one which is both viable and deliverable in the short to medium term.”

The Welsh government’s proposals for reform, with eight or nine local authorities as the preferred structure.

Cllr. Cheryl Carlisle, Conservative group leader said: "The government should be tackling the ever increasing needs of social care and health for our residents.

“By trying to force this change through, it is taking services and accountability further away from residents. It should withdraw this deeply flawed proposal immediately, before it squanders yet more cash that local services really need."

Leader of Conwy First Independent group, Cllr Gorony Edwards, said: “We are opposed to Alun Davies’ proposals. They fly in the face of reassurance his predecessor Mark Drakeford gave that this threat to local democracy was no longer on the agenda .

“The financial cost and service disruptions resulting from reorganisation would far outweigh the suggested benefits outlined in this ill conceived poorly drafted proposal, which smacks of gerrymandering by the mandarins of the Welsh government.”

Cllr Chris Hughes. Labour leader said: “Our opposition to these proposals is very clear, and I think this is true across all the political groups throughout Wales.

“When this proposal first came out about eight years ago, Conwy looked at it and saw it weakened democracy because it took councillors away from constituents.

“At the same time the government says it needs more members to do its job. There a contradiction here. It has been trying to micro manage local government from Cardiff.

“We think local decisions affecting local people should be made locally and not in Cardiff Bay or Westminster.

“The Welsh government suggests there are savings of between £90 million to £200 could be made. Since they made that statement Conwy has seen its budget reduced by around £50 million. This means significantly increases in council tax for council tax payers and this is something we can’t support. My gut feeling is this is not about making local government more efficient, but about being able to fund more AMs in Cardiff Bay.”

The leader of Plaid Cymru, cllr Wyn Ellis Jones said: “We think the costs of reorganisation will outweigh any financial benefits, and the government hasn’t said where the money will come from, we assume it will be the council tax payers who will fund the bill.

“There is no evidence larger authorities are any more efficient or effective than smaller ones, and they don’t provide a better service.

The government’s track record in reorganisation as seen with Natural Resources Wales, or the structure of health authorities hasn’t been a success.”

Cllr Nigel Smith, Leader of the Independent group said: “In Wales problems will not be solved by mergers. Local government and the vital services it delivers need proper funding.

“This year Conwy has to operate with £11 million less than it needs whilst continuously being expected to deliver more.”

The Liberal Democrat leader, Cllr Trevor Stott said: “We do not support the merger proposals. What councils need is proper funding for our vulnerable service, like social care, education and community support.

Cllr Gareth Jones, Plaid Annibynnol, leader said: “The proposals attempt to provide an answer to local authorities worsening financial situation.

The extra financial demands come mainly from unfunded Welsh government policies, increasing demand in specialist additional learning needs and accommodating continuing growth in the need for social care.

“Reorganisation would incur further financial pressures on authorities which can be ill afforded.

“Local government deserves a far more thorough, skilfully researched transparent business plan, rather than a superficial rehash of former reviews which lack vision, innovation and the prospect of real change for the better. It’s not safeguarding or changing local authority boundaries that is the issue, but making a distinct improvement in the organisation and delivery of services to improve the quality of life for all who live in Wales.”