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Shapps urges end to costly consultations

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Consultations on whether councils should switch to elected mayors should be done as cheaply as possible pending the abolition of this requirement, local government minister Grant Shapps has told councils.

He said the consultations could consist simply of a newspaper article, or website message to solicit the public’s view.

Councils are required under the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to decide whether to have a leader or elected mayor, in each case with a cabinet, and to consult the public on the options.

The new government intends to scrap this provision for district councils, which are yet to undertake the exercise.

Grant Shapps

Mr Shapps said: “Of course it is important that local people have a say over how their council is run. But as council taxpayers they will not expect their councils to spend a fortune trying to ask for their opinions.

“That’s why I want little public money spent on this, when it can be better used on improving the local services residents rely on.”

A Department for Communities and Local Government spokesman said Mr Shapps remarks applied only to consultations on leadership arrangements pending the scrapping of this law, and not to others that councils are required to hold.

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