Wales politics

Council shake-up to improve public services, Carwyn Jones says

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Media captionCarwyn Jones says fewer highly-paid chief executives will be 'a good thing, frankly'

Welsh councils need re-organising to deliver "better public services", the first minister has said.

A new map suggesting the 22 authorities be cut to eight or nine has prompted anger within Welsh Labour with senior council figures opposed to the plans.

Carwyn Jones told BBC Radio Wales reform was needed when four of the 22 councils were unable to run their education services due to failings.

Bigger authorities would work more effectively, he said.

'Critical mass'

"We've got social service departments where people work hard, but if you lose one or two on the sick, or they leave, all of a sudden they can't cover the work they're doing," he told the Jason Mohammad programme on Monday.

"I've had two businesses this week saying 'look, we can't get planning advice upfront from local authorities because they're overworked. They just don't have the people'.

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Image caption Council services can be delivered more effectively with fewer authorities, Mr Jones says

"In years gone by when we had fewer authorities it was easier to to create bigger departments to make sure we had more critical mass."

Mr Jones said the shake-up was "not about having a go at local government", but getting the structure right so that local government became a "real powerhouse" again.

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