Skip to main content

Unitary Councils

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the reasons were for her decision to issue additional guidance to the Boundary Committee on 8 December 2008 to the effect that they should assess the affordability of and support for new unitary local authorities in (a) Devon, (b) Norfolk and (c) Suffolk in aggregate rather than by individual proposed authority. (248661)

We decided it would be helpful to the Boundary Committee to provide the additional guidance on the approach we are seeking for assessing unitary proposals involving two or more unitary councils, as from the financial information published by the Committee on 21 November, it was not clear that such assessments would be on the basis set out in the original request to the Committee of considering such a proposal in aggregate across all the unitary councils involved.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if she will make it her policy to support the creation of new unitary local authorities in (a) Devon, (b) Norfolk and (c) Suffolk. (248662)

My right hon. Friend will take her decisions under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 on whether or not to implement any unitary proposals she has received from the councils or the Boundary Committee after the end of a period of six weeks, as required by that Act, following the date on which the Boundary Committee has been requested to provide advice to the Secretary of State.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment she has made of the (a) affordability and (b) level of support for new unitary local authorities in (i) Devon, (ii) Norfolk and (iii) Suffolk. (248663)

Such an assessment was made of those proposals for new unitary authorities submitted by Exeter city council, Ipswich borough council and Norwich city council which we made against the five criteria, including affordability and a broad cross section of support, set out in the October 2006 'Invitation to councils in England to make proposals for future unitary structures', and which we made prior to asking the Boundary Committee for advice on proposals for unitary local government in the three county areas of Devon, Norfolk and Suffolk.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether it is her Department’s objective in creating new unitary local authorities that all authorities so created are financially viable. (248664)

Our “Invitation to councils in England to make proposals for future unitary structures”, published in October 2006, set out five criteria, including criteria on affordability and value for money local services, against which proposals for unitary local government would be assessed.