Positive case for Unitary Council published

The structure of Local Government in Somerset has been a topic of discussion for many years, “Two tier or not two tier” that is the question.

It is now time for all elected officials in Somerset to face facts and do what is in the best interests of our residents. I have long been a supporter of a single Unitary Authority here in Somerset and I welcome the publication released today (8th Jan) setting out what reorganising the deck chairs would achieve in our County.

The report estimates potential savings of £47m a year which will enable the new authority to re-invest the additional money in schools, roads, housing services, public transport, social care and climate change initiatives. This would bring long-term sustainable services and clarity for the people of Somerset.

What would a single Unitary mean for you?

Disbanding the County Council and the four District councils and creating one new Council to deliver all services. In doing so it would reduce duplication and end the complications, confusion and inefficiencies that inevitably come with two layers of local government. It would be simpler for residents and offer so much potential investment into frontline services. Town and Parish councillors would remain outside the reorganisation and still play an active part in shaping their communities.

Although I fully support a single Unitary model for Somerset, nothing has been decided yet and we are at the start of a very long process that would require Government support. This is an opportunity for Somerset to share in the benefits of a single tier of local Government that can already be seen in Wiltshire, Dorset, Cornwall, B&NES, North Somerset and more than 130 other authorities. It is an opportunity to invest more into the services we all value and I truly believe that this is the right thing to do.

To read the options set out in the independent report visit onesomerset.org.uk.

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