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Local Government: Suffolk

Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission on what grounds Forest Heath district council, Waveney district council and St. Edmundsbury borough council have been refused a meeting with the Boundary Committee for England during the consultation period for local government structural review in Suffolk. (244854)

The Electoral Commission informs me that at stages one and two of the review process the Boundary Committee arranged a series of meetings, both collectively and individually, with local authorities in Suffolk in which representatives from Forest Heath district council, Waveney district council and St. Edmundsbury borough council participated.

The Commission further informs me that it is the committee's policy to decline meeting requests from local authorities to discuss schemes not included in the committee's draft report.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what assessment he has made of whether the consultation process undertaken by the Boundary Committee for England in regard to the structural review of local government in Suffolk has so far met all the criteria set out in the Cabinet Office code of practice on consultation to date. (244855)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the consultation carried out by the Boundary Committee has met all the criteria set out in the Cabinet Office code of practice.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission what his policy is on whether the Boundary Committee for England's structural review of Suffolk local government should consider the views of the general public in the form of petitions as evidence in its deliberations. (244856)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the Boundary Committee will consider the views of all those who make representations to it, including those in the form of a petition.

However, the Commission also informs me that the guidance from the Secretary of State to which the committee must have regard states that

“the volume of representations for or against a proposal should not of itself be considered to provide a definitive view of that proposal's merits”.

To ask the hon. Member for Gosport, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission how much money the local government structural review in Suffolk has cost to date; how much of those costs are in respect of (a) the salaries of those conducting, (b) consultation and (c) other costs. (244857)

The Electoral Commission informs me that the structural review in Suffolk has to date cost £218,757. This can be broken down into the following areas of expenditure:

£

Category of expenditure

(a) Salaries (including local government consultant)

109,948

(b) Consultation

27,483

(c) Other Costs:

Financial Consultants

65,791

Printing

11,794

Mapping

2,248

Couriers

363

Staff training

1,130

Total

218,757