The Secretary of State recently announced his intention to implement the reorganisation plan submitted by the Northamptonshire councils. Subject to parliamentary approval, the new unitary authority will be in place in April 2021. I place on the record my thanks to the councils for their continuing constructive attitude towards ensuring that their residents will have better local government.
I thank the Minister for that answer and share his sentiment about the local authorities’ constructive work. What steps will his Department take to ensure that future decision making is at the heart of the new model and happens at the most local level possible, with strong area representation reflecting the different communities of north Northamptonshire?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the importance of local decision making happening as close to people as possible. We expect new unitary authorities to support the creation of new parishes as part of this reorganisation, which has happened elsewhere, and we also encourage the formation of area committees to ensure strong local representation. My hon. Friend is absolutely right that local people must have a strong voice in the decisions that affect their communities.