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Twenty-six councils bid to become unitary authorities

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Twenty-six councils bid to become unitary authorities

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Published by webmaster for 24dash.com in Local Government

Ruth Kelly MP has unveiled the list of councils

Local Government Secretary Ruth Kelly today confirmed that Government had received 26 proposals from councils across England wishing to become unitary authorities.

She welcomed the options for strong leadership, increased efficiency, better value for money and reduced council tax they potentially offer.

In October 2006 Government invited councils in two-tier areas to submit proposals for unitary status.

This was in recognition of potential obstacles to providing that strong, clear, local leadership needed for place-shaping, and effective and responsive public services - such as confusion among residents on the respective responsibilities of the tiers, duplication of services and inefficiencies between tiers.

The 26 proposals (see below) which will now be considered carefully against the criteria published in the invitation.

In remaining two-tier areas Government expects all councils to pursue new working arrangements to achieve the same level of improvement and efficiency gains as we expect the new unitaries will be achieving.

As part of this, Government also invited councils to submit proposals to pioneer, as pathfinders, new models of two-tier working.

Five proposals have been submitted to Government which will now be considered.

Kelly said: "I am pleased to see that these local authorities are keen to improve the services they offer to their communities and welcome the debate which the invitation has generated across the country on this issue.

"Our goal has always been to ensure that the services on offer to our communities are responsive, effective and efficient. We have always made it clear that the status quo is not an option. In some areas new unitary councils may be the way forward, and in all continuing two tier areas councils must improve the way they work with each other.

"We will assess the bids received against the strict criteria as laid out in the invitation, these include an expectation of a broad cross section of local support, increased efficiency gains and all costs arising from reorganisation being met locally without increasing council tax. We will announce in March which unitary bids will go forward for stakeholder consultation."

Communities and Local Government is also setting up a working group with representitives from the LGA and public service Unions to look at the implications of reorganisations.

It will look at the practical arangements for implementing new Unitary authorities.

UNITARY PROPOSALS

1.   Bedford Borough Council          Bedford unitary

2.   Bedfordshire County Council      County unitary

3.   Cheshire County Council          County unitary

4.   Chester City Council             2 unitary option for Cheshire

5.   Cornwall County Council          County unitary

6.   Cornwall districts               Proposal for future unitary status

7.   Cumbria County Council           County unitary

8.   Durham County Council            County unitary

9.   Durham districts                 Proposal for future unitary status

10.  East Riding UA                   East Riding & Selby

11.  Ellesmere Port & Neston Borough  3 unitary option for Council Cheshire

12.  Exeter City Council              Exeter unitary

13.  Ipswich Borough Council          Ipswich unitary

14.  Lancaster City Council           Lancaster unitary

15.  Mid Bedfordshire District        Unitary covering both Council & South Bedfordshire  districts District Council

16.  North Yorkshire County Council   County unitary

17.  Northumberland County Council    County unitary

18.  Northumberland districts         2 unitary option for councils   Northumberland

19.  Norwich City council             Norwich unitary

20.  Oxford City Council              3 unitary option for Oxfordshire

21.  Pendle Borough Council & Burnley Burnley and Pendle Borough Council unitary

22.  Preston City Council             Preston unitary

23.  Shropshire County Council        County unitary

24.  Somerset County Council          County unitary

25.  South Somerset District Council  East Somerset unitary

26.  Wiltshire County Council         County unitary

TWO-TIER PATHFINDERS

1. Buckinghamshire

2. Dorset

3. Hertfordshire

4. Lincolnshire

5. Suffolk (excluding Ipswich Borough Council)

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