Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
Voices of doubt and opposition to the local government review are getting stronger, said ACC chair, Dennis Pettitt ...
Voices of doubt and opposition to the local government review are getting stronger, said ACC chair, Dennis Pettitt in a letter to all county councils today.

In some areas there is a growing consensus that the review should be stopped, writes Mr Pettitt. 'The recent House of Lords debate on the review illustrated this graphically, with 37 out of the 44 speakers expressing concern about the review and where it may lead.

'Even within the ADC, the last bastion of support for the review, dissent from the official line grows apace. Recently they claimed that over 160 district chief executives had written to the government supporting unitary councils. Assuming that district chief executives' views are relevant, I wonder what the remaining 140 think?

The ACC supported John Major and the Local Government Commission's view that 'there will not be change for change's sake.

'Flexibility and diversity are now the name of the game - 'no national blueprint' as John Gummer has made clear.'

Mr Pettitt said it was 'deluded' to think that unitary councils had 'massive public support'.

'When the 'don't knows' are excluded from the recent MORI surveys covering more than a third of counties, support for the unitary principle averages out at 51%. In over half these counties it is 50% or less. In some district areas support for the principle falls to a third.

'This picture is even less convincing when it comes to particular unitary structures. Of those so far recommended by the Commission particular unitary proposal have commanded 50% or more support in only 6 districts (out of a potential 63). Overall the present structure was four times as likely to command such support at district level as any particular unitary alternative.'

Mr Pettitt said counties should pay special attention to safe guarding services. 'We simply cannot afford to have key public services shattered and fragmented by unwelcome or unnecessary structural change,' he writes.

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.