To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what process needs to be followed by local authority areas which would like to achieve unitary status.
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what criteria his Department will use to assess bids to establish a unitary authority; and whether unanimity of affected local authorities is required.
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the minimum population size required is to form a unitary authority.
To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what the maximum population size is in which a single unitary authority should operate.
The Devolution White Paper to be published this Autumn will set out our transformative plans for economic recovery and renewal, and for levelling up opportunity, prosperity, and well-being across the country. These plans will include restructuring our local institutions to deliver these outcomes, establishing more mayors and more unitary councils the populations of which will depend on local circumstances but as a rule of thumb are expected to be substantially in excess of 300k-400k. Under current legislation it is open to the Secretary of State, subject to consultation and Parliamentary approval, to implement if he thinks fit any unitary proposal submitted by a council in response to an invitation which any council may request. In considering a unitary proposal the Secretary of State expects to have regard to the extent it is likely to support the delivery of the outcomes sought in the White Paper.