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CAMBRIDGESHIRE DEFENDS STANCE ON UNITARY COUNCILS

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Union criticism of Cambridgeshire CC's support for two unitary councils in the area has been attacked this week as ...
Union criticism of Cambridgeshire CC's support for two unitary councils in the area has been attacked this week as 'absolute nonsense' by the county's chief executive Gordon Lister.

The row is likely to undermine government efforts to seek consensus among councils over the review, particularly as the seven councils in the area had agreed a joint assessment of six options.

But Cambridgeshire CC has come out in support of two unitarycouncils based on Peterborough and Cambridge City Councils. The exact borders separating the two would be open to consultation, the county said.

East Cambridgeshire DC Chairman Lionel Neal has recommended a cautious response among the seven following the publication of the joint report. 'As matters stand change looks like being bad news for East Cambridgeshire', Mr Neal said.

Public sector union Unison reacted angrily to the county's decision which it saw as breaking ranks with the other councils.

Graham Cuffley, a Unison spokesman from Cambridge City Council, said: 'The way the county council has chosen to present its opinion is misleading and premature. The formal consultation period will not begin until the New Year.

'It is sad that the county council has decided that cutting costs is more important than good quality services'.

Mr Lister dismissed the union's critcism as 'absolute nonsense. I fail to understand how Unison has arrived at this conclusion.

'We clearly outlined our list of priorities for the future and top of that list was the delivery of top quality services at an affordable cost', he said.

The Cambridgeshire region of the Confederation of British Industry has come out in support of the retention of two tiers.

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