Powys Council and health board merger's' huge implications'

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Leaders of a council and health board say public services in Powys will face 'huge implications' if recommendations in a report on local government reorganisation in Wales are introduced.

The proposed merger of the two Powys bodies has been welcomed by their respective bosses.

The Williams Commission wants the two bodies to merge within three years.

It said unification should be established 'with no historic health deficit'.

It also recommended that councils in Wales should merge leaving 10, 11 or 12 local authorities rather than the current 22.

Widespread consultation

A joint statement issued by Powys Council leader Barry Thomas and the health board's chairman Mel Evans said: "A single public sector body for Powys could have significant service delivery and financial advantages for the county.

"It is something that both organisations supported in principle some years ago when the idea was considered as part of an independent review.

"The recommendations in the commission's report have huge implications for public service delivery and need careful analysis before a full response can be made.

"Any proposed changes will be subject of widespread consultation."

The commission is recommending a two-stage approach to creating a merged body with steps identified in the last review starting by April 2015 with a view to full merger within three years.

The report also recommends the merger of Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire councils or the option of them unifying with Carmarthenshire council.

A Ceredigion Council spokesman said the local authority would consider the recommendations carefully as it awaits the Welsh government's response.

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