Town Hall

Next steps announced for new unitary councils after approval

Plans for new unitary councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset have taken an important step forward following approval from Local Government Secretary, Robert Jenrick.

The plans will move the areas away from a two-tier system of county and district councils to unitary authorities.

The government said it will strengthening local leadership and transform the way services are delivered, as well as to help ensure people and businesses across these areas can have sustainable high-quality local services they deserve.

They also said the reorganisation will give local leaders the tools to help level up opportunity and prosperity across their communities.

For Cumbria, two unitary councils will be established, an East unitary and a West one.

The East one will cover Barrow, Eden and South Lakeland districts, while the West unitary council will cover Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland respectively.

In North Yorkshire and Somerset, a new single unitary council will be established for each county area, with all being subject to Parliamentary approval.

The locally-led plans are being taken forward after a period of consultation, which considered views from residents, business leaders and councils.

The Local Government Secretary has asked the existing councils and their partners to work collaboratively and constructively together to drive forward the process of establishing unitary councils.

Commenting, Mr Jenrick said:

“I have always been clear that any restructuring of local government must be locally-led and will not involve top-down solutions from government.

“Residents, businesses and service providers have had their say on what will work best for their area and now councils in these three areas can start planning for the next step.

“Where there is local support, changing the structure of local government can offer better value for money and improved services for residents.

Moving forward, Parliamentary approval will be sought to implement these plans and at the turn of the year, a draft structural changes Order will be laid in Parliament.

This will include plans for the necessary transitional arrangements, including for elections in May 2022 for the future unitary councils.

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