MONMOUTH AM Nick Ramsay has spoken out at the Assembly following the Welsh Government’s plans to bring local government reform back on the agenda despite scrapping the idea not long ago.
It now looks as though plans to merge Monmouthshire with other adjacent counties are on the table once again following the Welsh Government’s publication of a Green Paper.
Speaking in the Senedd last week Nick said: “There are lots of interesting statistics in this Green Paper, ranging from population to council tax bases, but no recognition of the importance of the feel of an area, its character, its brand—to use the modern term. Why are you going about it in this way, rather than looking at the factors that, for instance, in my area, make Monmouthshire successful in harnessing the energy of its people, of promoting its history and heritage, and growing the local economy, because the brand works? It's not the case that across the whole of Wales local government has been a total disaster.
“There's no explanation about how local government area 10, which I think I'll end up living in—. I trust that's a working title, it does sound a little bit like something from Nineteen Eighty-Four—very Orwellian—perhaps there's something behind this. How will that area 10 provide a more successful brand? Will it be identifiable or respected by or accepted by the people who will live in it? As Gareth Bennett said in his comments earlier, if you're talking about joining an area like Monmouthshire with Blaenau Gwent—okay, you've got the Heads of the Valleys road, which is being developed, and there might be some arguments for building on that, but it doesn't seem to me that the public, the people out there these bodies are supposed to represent, are really involved or engaged in this at all. So, if you want to come to my area at some point, I'll take you around one of the country shows, and I'm sure you'll get people's opinions very quickly.”