Government invite councils to submit Unitary Authority proposals

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The government has invited councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset to submit locally-led proposals for unitary local government, responding to requests from these areas.

Councils in these three areas now have the opportunity to develop and submit their proposals for how they want to restructure local government in their area to establish unitary local government. This would mean moving from a two-tier system of county and district councils, to a system where there is a single tier for any given area.

For example, earlier this year legislation was signed to abolish eight councils in Northamptonshire and replace them with two new unitary councils, North Northamptonshire and West Northamptonshire.

In April this year, the county council and four district councils in Buckinghamshire were abolished and the new Buckinghamshire Council took on full local government functions and powers.

Invitations are being issued to councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset as these three areas are advanced in their discussions about local government restructuring and councils in these areas have asked for an invitation to be issued. Formally inviting them to submit proposals is the first step in the legal process towards restructuring.

Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

"Councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset are already working on developing their locally-led unitary proposals and I am now giving them the opportunity to submit them for consideration.

"Where there is local support, changing the structure of local government can offer better value for money and improved services for residents. We have always been clear that any restructuring of local government must continue to be locally-led and will not involve top-down solutions from government."

Councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset will now have the opportunity to decide whether to develop and submit their locally-led proposals with the aim of any new unitary councils being established in these areas by April 2023.

The government may receive more than one locally led proposal for each area reflecting the local debates. In the event of this, the Local Government Secretary will consider all proposals received and decide which, if any, subject to consultation and Parliamentary approval, to implement.

The government say they will not impose top-down restructuring of local government and will continue to follow a locally-led approach for unitarisation where councils can develop proposals which have strong local support.

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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland: Government invite councils to submit Unitary Authority proposals
Government invite councils to submit Unitary Authority proposals
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Cleator Moor | Cumbria: Little Ireland
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