Northern Powerhouse minister Jake Berry has voiced support for a unitary reorganisation proposal in Lancashire.
Mr Berry told the north west edition of the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme that some reorganisation was needed in the area, where he is MP for nearby Rossendale and Darwen.
Pendle BC last week backed a motion from its Conservative opposition to explore whether a unitary could be created.
The motion left the area that could be involved undefined but suggested nearby councils might also wish to join.
It said: “The people of Pendle would be better served by one unitary authority, rather than the two-tier [system]. This would cut bureaucracy, cut the number of councillors, provide a more joined up approach and ensure that services currently commissioned in Preston would be delivered locally.”
The motion committed Pendle to request unitary status from communities secretary Sajid Javid and to “contact other local councils in east Lancashire and North Yorkshire to see what appetite there would be to work together for such a move”.
Mr Berry said: “I think Pendle is right to look at what is best to drive value for money, and some sort of merger of the borough councils, some local government reorganisation in east Lancashire, would deliver the best services and better value for money but it’s for the local area to decide what it wants.”
An east Lancashire unitary was first proposed in 2014 by former foreign secretary Jack Straw, who was then MP for Blackburn and felt that the area had needs distinct from the rest of the county.
He suggested it should cover Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Ribble Valley and Rossendale BCs.
There was a mixed response from the councils affected and the idea faded when Lancashire councils – and unitaries Blackburn with Darwen and Blackpool BC – decided to pursue a combined authority.
That faltered last year when some councils withdrew their support.
A Lancashire CC statement said the unitary issue was a matter for Pendle.