District councils rally to lobby for unitary status

Norwich City Council is co-ordinating a group of 19 district councils seeking a firm to lobby the Government on their bid for unitary status.

Norwich City Council is co-ordinating a group of 19 district councils

seeking a firm to lobby the Government on their bid for unitary

status.



Chester, Gloucester, Oxford, Canterbury, Northampton and Exeter are

believed to be among the group seeking to upgrade their official status,

which would give them independence from their local county council and

hence the right to control their own spending on education and social

services.



Alan Waters, leader of Norwich and chair of the Local Governance Review

Group said: ’The group believes community governance and service delivery

can best be achieved by unitary local authorities at district level.’



The move is likely to spur county councils into defensive action which

could in turn involve hiring their own political advisers.



The group has approached at least three firms, Westminster Strategy,

Westminster Communications and Market Access International.



The councils will need to persuade the new Government to instruct the

Local Government Commission to take a fresh look at their case.



The commission was set up in 1992 with a remit to undertake any structural

reviews when instructed to by the Department of Environment. It made final

recommendations in December 1995.



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