Just days left to make a difference

There are just days left to give your views to Government on its plans to modernise and simplify local government in Buckinghamshire by creating a single unitary council for the county- which would save £18m a year to reinvest in better services.

In March the Government said it was ‘minded-to’ abolish the current confusing system of district and county councils covering the same area and to replace it with one new unitary authority providing all council services in the county.

At the same time, it effectively ruled out alternative proposals from the district councils for splitting Bucks into two authorities, which it said were ‘unlikely to improve local government in the area, generate significant savings, or provide the capacity to sustain major services’.

It is now holding a ‘period of representation’ for people to submit their views, which ends on Friday (May 25).

Buckinghamshire County Council Leader, Martin Tett, said: “Over the last couple of months the district councils have been urging people to back their proposal for breaking up our county into two small unitary authorities. However, this option is not even on the table.  The Government has already said the districts’ plans are unlikely to be able to sustain major services, while they also fail to meet minimum population requirements.

“The real choice before people is either continuing with the status quo of a broken, expensive and bureaucratic two-tier system of district and county councils, or changing to the proven model of one new unitary council which will save millions, improve services and be a simple one-stop shop for residents and businesses. The savings could provide the scope to almost double the amount which is spent on road resurfacing or build more affordable homes for local people.

“With insufficient support much-needed change may not happen. Please do give your views – there is still time.”

Cllr Steven Lambert, leader of the opposition at the County Council, also supports the creation of one council, alongside his counterparts on Aylesbury Vale and Chiltern district councils. Steven said: “This is not about party politics – it is about what is right for our residents. One council will save at least £18m every year, many millions more than would be saved by two different unitary councils. This is extra money which doesn’t come from tax hikes, which can be invested in making council services better.”

You can use the simple e-form on the Buckinghamshire County Council website to give your views or email the Secretary of State at james.brokenshire@communities.gsi.gov.uk

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