COUNCILLORS have slammed proposals to merge Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion County Councils.

They say the cost of combining the councils, the subsequent lack of local representation, and the political differences between the three authorities would make the plans a disaster.

The proposal is part of a Welsh Government plan to cut the number of councils in the country from 22 to ten.

Alun Davies, Local Government Secretary, said the plans would strengthen

He added: "Wales needs strong, effective, empowered local authorities which can weather continued austerity and build local democratic structures fit for future generations.

"I do not believe that our local authorities, as currently constituted, can fully play this role; and I am not alone.

"Councils have been clear that services are wearing down to the point of collapse and there is a general acceptance that things cannot carry on as they are and a general acknowledgement that more money, even if it were available, would not solve the problem."

However, Carmarthenshire county councillors believe the changes could have a huge impact on people in the Amman Valleys.

Kevin Madge, county councillor for Garnant, said: “The Amman Valley would lose out completely. In the old days all the investment would go to Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion.

“The cost of getting it going would be huge. I understand smaller councils like Anglesey and Merthyr being combined with other authorities, but Carmarthenshire is the fifth biggest council in Wales.

“It will cost millions and millions and millions. Surely that money would be better spent on public services?

“I think the other issue with the plan is that the seats which would be created for the monster authority would be massive.

“There would be far less local representation on the council.”

Plaid’s county councillor for Saron, Carl Harris, shared Cllr Madge’s concerns.

He added:

Labour’s Deputy Leader, Rob James said: “The view that larger councils are cheaper and more efficient has obtained folklore status and I do not subscribe to the view that we must centralise local government across Wales.

“Devolution must not stop at Cardiff Bay. Every town, village and community must be empowered to decide their own future.

“Reducing the number of councils to the number suggested, and creating a large remote local authority replicating the old Dyfed council, will result in communities across West Wales having less of a say on the day to day issues that impact them.”