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The rising cost of social care could force some councils to merge,
according to a leading Welsh local government official.
the chief executive of the Welsh Local Government Association,
says social care costs are expected to double in the next 15 years.
This report from our political correspondent Arwyn Jones.
Social care is the second-largest service within local government,
costing around ?1.6 billion a year.
It supports over 125,000 vulnerable people, and employs more
than 70,000 workers.
But according to Steve Thomas, the extra costs of care could be
too much for councils, which are already struggling.
With an increasingly ageing population, Mr Thomas
predicts care costs will double over the next decade.
He told BBC Wales's Sunday Supplement programme
the only way councils
will be able to cope will be to merge.
Authorities will struggle if the current prognosis in terms
of finance continues.
We know, as I said earlier, that the costs of social care
will double in the next 15 years.
That is the elephant in the room for us, in term of finances.
That is the thing that is going to drive a lot of change.
It also crowds up some of the other services.
So, I think active consideration of either mergers of authorities
or at least mergers of services will be commonplace
in the next period.
Last week the Welsh government announced an extra ?10 million
a year to help ensure the social care sector is strong
and is sustainable for the future.
Much of that money will help meet the extra costs associated
with the introduction of the National living
wage for social workers.
Elections will be held in all of Wales's 22 councils in May.
Whoever wins, councillors will have to grapple with a key sector whose
costs are spiralling pilot the same time to cope with further
cuts to their budgets.
-- care sector.
Plaid Cymru Assembly Member, Adam Price, says the deal to change
Tata steel's pension scheme is "unacceptable" and
employees should reject it.
Some workers at Port Talbot have previously expressed concerns over
plans which would mean accepting a less generous pension in return
for future investment on site.
The unions say they respect Mr Price's opinion, but it's vital
the workforce understands the proposals - and maintaining
steel production has been key to discussions.
Tata says it can't comment while the consultation
process is under way.
Parents in Wales could be prevented from smacking their children,
under plans to change the powers of the national assembly.
An amendment to the Wales Bill - going through UK Parliament -
would clarify that powers over parental discipline
would rest in Cardiff.
In 2015 Assembly Members voted against banning
the smacking of children - which would have come under
the Violence Against Women and Domestic Abuse bill.
Proposals promising to create 25,000 jobs in South East Wales have taken
another step forward.
The leaders of ten local authorities have endorsed an independent
report into a ?1.2 billion regeneration plan.
The report urges the leaders to move quickly.
Caroline Evans reports.
From Chepstow up to the heads of the valleys, the Cardiff capital
region city deal is a plan to grow the economy over the next 20 years.
Signed in March last year, ?1.2 billion is to be invested
into public transport and other projects.
The aim, to create 25,000 jobs and attract a further ?4 billion
in private sector investment.
An independent report has found the region could be more prosperous
and more sustainable if it becomes better connected and
Now the leaders of the ten local authorities covered by the plan have
unanimously endorsed the report, saying they accept the need
to develop a regional economic growth strategy
with immediate effect.
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But last month concerns were raised that Cardiff councillors may not
The leaders endorsement means that work has now begun
on an implementation plan.
This will be considered by individual councils, including
Cardiff, in the next few weeks.
Football - and Cardiff lost 2-1 against Fulham at a poorly attended
Cardiff City Stadium in the third round of the FA Cup.
The Bluebirds manager, Neil Warnock, said the sparse cloud was a sign
of the FA Cup's declining status.
He made five changes to his team as he admitted
Cardiff's Championship fixtures took priority.
Meanwhile Swansea City's new boss, Paul Clement, is planning for a busy
January transfer window, at the Liberty Stadium.
Clement lost his first game in charge yesterday
in a third-round FA Cup tie at Hull.
He says he's disappointed with the 2-0 defeat, in what he cold
an evenly played game.
Now, we pushed for the equaliser at the end and they have hit the
counterattack, so I think 2-0 flatters them, and I say to the
players we are looking for a performance to back up what we did
against Crystal Palace.
For long periods I got it, and we have to
build on the positive things that we were doing.
A look at the weather - and it'll remain cloudy
with some hill fog overnight.
Light rain and drizzle likely but it will stay frost free.
Rain will sweep across the country tomorrow morning, heavy
in places and strong winds.
Highs of ten Celsius.
And that's it from the Sunday team here on BBC Wales Today.
I'll be back with the latest at the slightly later
time of 10:50pm tonight.
Join me then.