Junior environment minister Tony Baldry was behind a newspaper report which claimed all county councils would be ab...
Junior environment minister Tony Baldry was behind a newspaper report which claimed all county councils would be abolished and thousands of senior council officers would lose their jobs. In a lobby briefing with The Independent newspaper published on Monday an unnamed minister was reported as saying there had been no local support for the retention of counties.
LGC understands the minister quoted was Mr Baldry. 'Nowhere have we received any indication from anyone that county councils must stay', the minister was reported as saying. Some of more than 30 counties which wrote to The Independent attacked the fact that the minister was unnamed. 'It is intolerable for any minister to seek to prejudice or compromise the work of the Local Government Commission', Association of County Councils Secretary Robin Wendt told LGC.
The DoE refused to comment on the source of the story. Local Government Minister David Curry told an ACC conference on Wednesday: 'It didn't come from me. I don't give any particular credence to it. The bulk of the story is old hat'. Mr Curry wrote to MPs on Monday to describe the benefits of 'all the functions of local government in one house' and told ACC members they should abandon their support of existing two tiers.