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MORE LOSERS THAN WINNERS - LIKE A NATIONAL LOTTERY, SAYS ADC

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The conclusion of the Local Government Commission review of the shape of local government in shire England is final...
The conclusion of the Local Government Commission review of the shape of local government in shire England is final evidence that the process has failed to deliver all the necessary changes, says the Association of District Councils

There have been more losers than winners, like a national lottery, as big towns and historic county boroughs with centuries of self-government behind them were denied - like Gloucester today - the unitary status they have sought.

In its last batch of final recommendations, covering Cornwall, Derbyshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire (where most of the ten district councils backed unitary solutions as did 67% of local people who expressed a preference) and Shropshire, the commission has proposed just one new unitary council - the city of Derby.

The Wrekin has been denied unitary status despite 60% local support in a recent MORI poll, and despite the commission's own view in draft proposals that 'there is a distinctive division within the county' between it and the rest of Shropshire.

Although the review has resulted in nearly 50 new unitary, all-purpose authorities, the shires are left with a mixed system of single and two-tier local government, which has not rectified all the failings of the last reorganisation in 1974.

ADC chair Margaret Singh said: 'Millions of people in Scotland, Wales and most of England will have one council instead of two running all their local services - why should that benefit be denied so many more people in the shires? It doesn't make sense.'

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