Local Government: Reorganisation

Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 10th July 2020.

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Photo of Sally-Ann Hart Sally-Ann Hart Conservative, Hastings and Rye

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent estimate his Department has made of the potential savings generated from local authorities adopting unitary status.

Photo of Sally-Ann Hart Sally-Ann Hart Conservative, Hastings and Rye

To ask the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits for local authorities of adopting unitary status.

Photo of Simon Clarke Simon Clarke Minister of State (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

We believe areas moving to unitary status with more sustainable and efficient councils can have significant benefits for local people and businesses, including improved and more affordable local services, stronger and more accountable local leadership, and by removing a layer of governance enabling town and parish councils and local communities to be genuinely empowered.

Ernst & Young’s 2016 [1] study of the two-tier councils in England estimated that each existing two-tier county area moving to a single unitary could produce annual savings (post implementation costs) approaching £30 million. A number of areas are now talking to us about unitarisation and are estimating annual savings of some £50 million.

[1] Independent Analysis of Governance Scenarios and Public Service Reform in County Areas, EY, September 2016.

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