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DISTRICTS CLAIM MAJORITY SUPPORT FOR UNITARIES

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The latest opinion polls from Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland and Suffolk confirm that the British public...
The latest opinion polls from Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Northumberland and Suffolk confirm that the British public wants all purpose unitary local authorities, the Association of District Councils says.

When the results of the four latest NOP surveys for the Local Government Commission are added to previous findings, the polls show that in nearly half the counties, less than 30% of those surveyed want to keep the two tier system, according to the ADC.

'Support for unitary status is particularly strong in cities, boroughs and towns,' the ADC says. 'This has been ignored in many of the Local Government Commission's recommendations.

'It must not be ignored in future recommendations.'

It is unacceptable for the commission to base its recommendations on responses to its leaflets, when the maximum response to the leaflets has been 10%, the ADC says.

'This is particularly the case as the commission tended to recommend the creation of unitary councils larger than put forward by district councils and supported by local people,' the ADC says.

The association names the cities and towns where the NOP analysis of leaflet returns shows more than 50% of local people support a unitary authority on existing boundaries.

These are: Thamesdown (94%), Plymouth (91%), Milton Keynes (91%), Slough (84%), Luton (76%), Poole (73%), Portsmouth (72%), Torbay (68%), Eastbourne (68%), Southampton (65%), Rutland (64%), Newbury (62%), New Forest (61%), Reading (59%), Huntingdonshire (57%), Leicester (54%), Southend (54%), Aylesbury Vale (52%), Exeter (52%), Gedling (50%), Blackpool (50%).

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