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Local Government: Norfolk

Volume 505: debated on Friday 5 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received from the Boundary Committee on the level of support in Norfolk for the creation of a single unitary authority in the last three months; and if he will make a statement. (314972)

The Boundary Committee’s advice to the Secretary of State of 7 December 2009, which includes its advice on the likelihood of its alternative proposal for a unitary Norfolk delivering the outcomes specified by the broad cross section of support criterion, is available in the Library of the House or on the Committee’s website at:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/boundary-reviews/all-reviews/eastern/norfolk/norfolk-structural-review

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate (a) he and (b) the Boundary Committee has made of the level of savings made by (i) district councils and (ii) other local authorities in Norfolk since the financial year 2007-08. (314984)

Before taking his statutory decisions on the unitary proposals before him for Norfolk, the assessments which the Secretary of State will make will include an assessment of the likelihood of each proposal, were it to be implemented, delivering the outcomes specified by the affordability criterion. In making this assessment, he will have regard to financial data, including data on savings, provided by the councils concerned to the Boundary Committee and to him, and to any assessment of this data by the Committee’s or his independent financial consultants.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment (a) he and (b) the Boundary Committee has made of support among residents for a new unitary authority for Norfolk. (314986)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State is now carefully considering the Boundary Committee’s advice, all the representations he has received, including those of Norfolk residents, and all other relevant information, before taking his statutory decisions about whether to implement any of the unitary proposals before him for Norfolk, with or without modification, or to take no action. In their advice to the Secretary of State of 7 December 2009 the Boundary Committee has noted that in Norfolk there was a strong level of support for retaining the current local government arrangements and where it received support for a county unitary authority this has come from across the county and from a variety of key stakeholders.

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department has taken to update the financial information on which the Boundary Committee based its advice for unitary status in Norfolk. (314991)

The independent financial consultants whom the Department have appointed have analysed the financial data available on each of the unitary proposals for Norfolk, including comparing data provided originally by councils and modelled by the Boundary Committee with 2008-09 accounts and 2009-10 budgets.