Statement on districts’ north/south unitary announcement
Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council, Martin Tett, said: “I welcome the fact that the district councils are now starting to progress their proposals for modernising local government. There is a clear consensus for a change in local government structure.
“The district councils say that speed should not determine the future of local government in Buckinghamshire. But let’s not forget that Aylesbury Vale District Council proactively commissioned an LG Futures unitary report over 18 months ago, and yet still haven’t produced any firm or detailed proposals, despite our invitation to them to collaborate and work with us when we approached them in May.
“The district councils have yet to confirm any publication date for their business case and there is as yet no firm detail on their plans. I await this detail with interest. The district councils now need to submit and publish their proposals quickly so that a firm decision can be made and transition to a better government model can start.”
Buckinghamshire County Council submitted its business case for a unitary council to the government in September.
It proposes to abolish both the county council and the four district councils and replace them with a new, county-wide authority. This would save taxpayers more than £18m a year.
The plans include community hubs which would provide a physical presence for public services in 19 locations throughout Bucks, and community boards which would enable decisions to be made in local areas.
The business case states that it would be cheaper and less bureaucratic for key services such as police and health to work with just one council.
Buckinghamshire would also be able to speak with a single, united voice on the regional stage, making it better placed to secure funding for vital infrastructure schemes.