To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many Welsh community councils have decided to vote themselves out of existence; and if he will make a statement.
The electors of two communities, Vaynor in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhoose in the Vale of Glamorgan, have voted in favour of dissolving their community councils. Vaynor community council was formally dissolved on 31 May. The Vale of Glamorgan borough council is making arrangements for the formal dissolution of Rhoose community council.
May I add my congratulations to those already given to the hon. Gentleman for his well-deserved knighthood? Does the Minister agree that it is disgraceful that democratically elected councils should vote themselves out of existence? Will he remove the anomaly that enables them to do so, and take steps to ensure that community councils in Wales carry greater democratic responsibilities rather than less?
There is nothing more democratic than the system which provides for community councils in Wales, because the very setting up of such councils is entirely a matter for the electors. Similarly, so is their dissolution. One cannot be more democratic than that. Giving them additional powers—because the powers that they now have run concurrently with those of district councils—was last discussed in 1985, and the local authorities, particularly at district level, were very much against it.