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Minister’s merger proposal ‘the worst of all possible worlds

January 18, 2013 2:43 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black has criticised the proposal to merge heritage body, CADW and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales within the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Heritage Minister announced yesterday that he is to bring the two bodies together under the umbrella of the Welsh Government. This despite the fact that concerns have been expressed that the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales, which is a specialist body involved in investigation and record, could find its role diluted. The archive that they maintain is an important asset which has some protection as a result of the body's charitable status, that status would be lost if it were brought into government, as would its independence.

Mr. Black said: "Considering the fact that the Minister first promised to have this report to us last July, it is ironic that he should take an extra six months to arrive at entirely the wrong decision.

"His proposal that the two organisations should be brought together under the Welsh Government provides us with the worst of all possible worlds. It is simply not true that the protection of our heritage will be best achieved by putting everything under the dead hand of the Welsh Government.

"Admittedly, CADW is part of government at present; but the Royal Commission is an independent body, and has benefitted greatly from being at arms length from government. It is a pity that the Minister cannot see that the work CADW does would benefit in the same way.

"Surely it makes better sense to allow the new entity to be independent of the Welsh Government and retain the Royal Commission's present charitable status. That would mean that the new body could seek funds from additional sources, allow it to be more innovative and efficient in its approach, work more easily with potential partners, and expand its operations as required throughout Wales."

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