The story is also covered in the Independent, which says the decision will call into question the usefulness of an independent body.
The Financial Times says the move underlines the government's determination to replace the existing two-tier system of local government in rural areas with unitary authorities.
It also says the decisiion undermines the position of the Local Government Commission, whose chair Sir John Banham had recommended continuing the two-tier system in parts of both counties. Sir John had suggested unitary status for other parts.
The FT reports that uncertainty over local government in the two counties could now continue for at least another year.