North West Wales

Gwynedd and Anglesey told to find ways of collaborating

Gwynedd and Anglesey councils have been told they must find ways of working together to save money.

Local Government Minister Carl Sargeant said working together was the only way to make enough savings.

In a joint statement, the councils said there was a "willingness" to look at the possibilities.

Mr Sargeant denied the move was because Anglesey council is currently being run under special measures.

The minister said both councils serve largely rural, and Welsh-speaking, areas.

They also have a good record of working together as there is already a single education support service in operation.

But this type of partnership would have to be extended in order to deliver the "scale of savings that either councils will need to make", Mr Sargeant added.

He said that both sides accepted the need to work more closely together to make savings "while protecting frontline services".

A full scoping study will be undertaken by February, he added.

Mr Sargeant said he did not expect the two councils to commit to anything without considering the evidence, and it was "absolutely not about merging authorities".

The minister said he could not ignore the fact that Anglesey is recovering from "very serious governance problems" and, although progress was being made, it was "by no means complete".

"But I should stress that what I am proposing is not primarily a response or a solution to Anglesey problems," he added.

Anglesey council had not "irrecoverably failed" and neither was it a "takeover" by Gwynedd, he said.

The study will consider how far integration of major council services could go and what the savings would be.

It will also look at both council's senior management team and how they would fit into a new system.

In a joint statement, Anglesey and Gwynedd said there was a willingness to "consider taking part in a scoping study to look into greater collaboration".

"As local authorities across Wales are facing huge cuts we must now look closer at working together across all services."

Council members will be asked for their input into the survey.

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