The offices of 64% of Welsh councils could close next year, as the number of councils in the country is slashed from 22 to 8, in a bid to save money.
The Draft Local Government (Wales) Bill, sets out how significant savings can be made in order to protect frontline services at a time of unprecedented demand.
Under the bill, the current 22 councils will be merged into 8 or 9, cutting overheads, and acting as a catalyst for reforming the way services are delivered.
Leighton Andrews, the public services minister, said: “There is a real opportunity here for local government to make significant savings for taxpayers and if councils work together, plan well and involve their staff there is the opportunity for savings even greater than the £650m we have identified. This means more money for front line public services, more money to invest in communities and more money to support local economic prosperity.
“This draft bill sets out a programme of reform to secure the future of local government in Wales. We want to see councils that are vibrant, strong, flexible, open and transparent – councils with vision, great leadership and passion, working effectively with the public service workforce and their communities to improve services, improve lives and improve places,” Andrews added.
It’s anticipated that this will save £650m within two to three years, taking into all the initial costs of merging, with potential additional savings from the sale of surplus assets.