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Unitary Councils

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate she has made of the effect on (a) fixed and (b) revenue costs of providing (i) school support services and (ii) specialist functions in the 26 areas where local authorities have put forward cases for unitary structures. (129591)

In making their cases for unitary local government, authorities were required to submit a detailed financial analysis of the costs involved. These analyses, based on a standard pro-forma, included a breakdown of the existing and future costs of providing local authority services, including education. Education costs were provided separately for nursery and primary schools, secondary and special schools and other expenditure.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what account she plans to take of (a) potential and (b) existing economies of scale in the delivery of services in determining which proposals for future unitary structures should go forward. (129592)

All proposals were assessed against the five criteria set out in the Invitation to councils and we announced on 27 March which we judged, on the basis of the information available, had met the criteria and should go forward to consultation. One of those criteria is that the future local government structure must deliver value for money and equity on public services. A proposal demonstrating potential economies of scale in service delivery would have been a factor in our assessment of whether the proposal met this criterion. We will re-assess all proposals against the five criteria (set out in the Invitation) in the light of the consultation.