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MORI RESEARCH BACKS UNITARY LOCAL GOVERNMENT, SAYS ADC

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Research by MORI into the public's view of local government reorganisation shows that 65% of people who had an opin...
Research by MORI into the public's view of local government reorganisation shows that 65% of people who had an opinion on the issue want unitary councils according to an analysis of the MORI reports by the Association of District Councils.

The ADC says those polled were briefed on the costs of the change in their areas. Yet, taking these into account, only 35% spoke in favour of status quo, says the ADC. It argues that such transitional costs would soon be outweighed by savings and people were beginning to grasp this.

The Association also welcomed the overriding rejection of the commission's initial proposals for unitary counties. In Durham only 9% were in favour and in Derbyshire 11%.

ADC chair Margaret Singh, commented: 'The MORI research gives the thumbs down to county level unitary councils. Reorganisation is on its way for non-metropolitan local government. The government has all but rejected the status quo, which will now be 'the exception'. All three political parties support unitary local government, and we are confident that this will be at district level.

'The Cleveland results show that when the Commission puts forward sensible proposals for locally based unitary authorities which runs with the grain of public opinion - then the public will clearly support the case for change.

'Where in Derbyshire and Durham the Local Government Commission put forward deeply unpopular proposals for county-sized unitary authorities, the apparent status quo vote needs to be reassessed in the light of the fresh impetus towards redrawing the map of local government across the rest of the country along more local lines. I urge the commission to bear the new guidelines in mind in making their final recommendations to the Secretary of State for these areas,' she added.

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