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BERKSHIRE ATTACKED FOR SUSPENDING JOINT WORKING ON REVIEW

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The leaders of Berkshire's six district councils have condemned the county council's decision to suspend joint work...
The leaders of Berkshire's six district councils have condemned the county council's decision to suspend joint working on local government review issues as 'deliberate sabotage.'

And they accused the county council of penalising the people of Berkshire in a desperate attempt to save the authority from the axe.

The attack came following a decision by the county council's local government review committee to halt the important joint working that is being carried out between county and district officers, on issues relating to the transition of services from the county to the proposed new unitary authorities.

The county has said that it wants to wait for a clear outcome on local government review before continuing with any joint working, following last week's judicial review hearing.

But the district leaders have hit back, saying:

'This is deliberate sabotage. The county has intentionally misunderstood Justice Collins' judgment in the high court last week to suit its own ends.

'The judge made it clear that although John Gummer had no powers to make the order relating to Windsor and Maidenhead and Bracknell. The proposals to abolish the county council and to establish four unitaries in Reading, Slough, Wokingham and Newbury were upheld.

'This latest decision by the county council is paralysing our attempts to achieve a smooth transition to unitary status and it is the delivery of high quality services to the people of Berkshire which is being jeopardised because of the county's absolute refusal to co-operate.'

The district leaders added:

'Once again, the county is changing its mind from day to day on this issue. Just yesterday, county councillor Bob Mowatt was reported as sayign that he saw no reason why the districts and county could not carry on in friendly co-operation. Today's decision makes rather a mockery of that statement.'

Shortly after the county made its decision earlier on Wednesday, two joint meetings to discuss the future arrangements of education services were cancelled. They were due to go ahead later this week between county and district officers.

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