asked Her Majesty's Government:
Why the Department for Communities and Local Government deviated from the original timetable that set out the process for creating new unitary authorities and inserted an extra stage requesting additional financial information. [HL595]
The invitation to councils did not exclude the Secretary of State from seeking further information before taking her statutory decisions under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007. In taking her decision on 25 July on which of the unitary proposals she was minded to implement, the Secretary of State recognised on the basis of the available information that in four cases—the proposals from Bedford Borough Council, certain district councils in Cheshire, Exeter City Council and Ipswich Borough Council—there were risks to their achieving the outcomes specified by the affordability criterion and accordingly sought additional information.