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COUNTY BASE ONLY WAY FOR UNITARY AUTHORITIES, SAYS PETTITT

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County councils today condemned the decision by Local Government Commission Sir John Banham to offer to reconsider ...
County councils today condemned the decision by Local Government Commission Sir John Banham to offer to reconsider his proposals for Derbyshire and Durham after publication of plans for the counties yesterday.

Speaking at the Association of County Council's annual conference in Cumbria, ACC chairman Dennis Pettitt said that he had learnt that at the very moment the recommendations were published the Commission chairman had written to the Secretary of State offering to reconsider if district councils made alternative proposals for unitary authorities.

'I am forced to ask who is now running the review, the Secretary of State or the Commission? And for whose benefit is it being run, the vested interests and power seekers in certain local authorities or the people who vote in local elections and use our services?' said Mr Pettitt.

He went on to say that only at county level can there be a truly unitary authority. 'Anything less automatically means indirectly elected joint authorities or committees for police, fire, strategic planning, social services and so on. It is two tier local government under another name.

Earlier the chairman attacked the way reorganisation is happening in Wales. He said the process there had been a public disgrace with the government intent on changes which would produce a fragmented and feeble system of local government.

Mr Pettitt ended his speech saying that he is not prepared for county councils and the quality of local government for which the ACC stands to be pushed around by the DoE, district councils, Conservative and Labour Parties or the Local Government Commission.

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