The paper says that the abolition has been described by what one minister described as the biggest shake-up in local government since the Domesday Book.
Thousands of senior management jobs will be cut and millions of pounds of council properties left, the paper claims
Some counties had been expected to survive as unitary authorities but senior ministers are said to have told the Independent that this is no longer so. It notes that there is little political disadvantage in the government scrapping what were once bastions of Tory power as since the last local elections in may only Buckinghamshire is under Tory control.
The Association of County Councils reacted angrily to the news says the Independent and will discuss the policy shift with David Curry, minister for local government on Wednesday.