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REORGANISATION: BOUNDARY COMMITTEE INCLUDES SINGLE CUMBRIAN COUNCIL OPTION FOR REGIONAL REFERENDUM

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The Boundary Committee announced today it is recommending that the single Cumbria option is included on the ballot ...
The Boundary Committee announced today it is recommending that the single Cumbria option is included on the ballot paper should there be a yes vote in the regional government referendum in autumn 2004 (see LGCnet).

The County Council's submission to the Boundary Committee showed that a new unitary Cumbria council will:

- Deliver strategic capacity and quality of services

- Work effectively with Cumbria's diverse local communities

- Produce major savings for council tax payers

- Exert significant influence for Cumbria on the regional and national stage.

Leader Rex Toft says: 'We are pleased the committee has listened closely to our reasoning and is recommending the single unitary council as an option. This is the best option to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead whilst delivering better value and services.

'If there is a yes vote for regional government in the North West all the existing councils will disappear. A single unitary Cumbria is the only option that will pay for the costs of the reorganisation and deliver efficiency savings within just a few years. The other options recommended by the Boundary Committee will take at least a generation to pay for the huge cost of the changes.

'A single Cumbria council will be big enough to exert enough influence to secure regional and national support and funding for Cumbria. Smaller organisations will be overwhelmed by the interests of Greater Manchester and Merseyside.'

Mike Ash, deputy leader says: 'A new Cumbria unitary council will mean a completely fresh start for local government in our sub-region. We will now commission officers to look at how a new single council could work effectively, involving all the urban and rural communities in the county, and maximising the influence that the county would have in the Region.'

Note

1. The Boundary Committee will now deliver a leaflet to all homes in Cumbria explaining the options and inviting comments by 23 February 2004. Interested organisations and residents have until 23 February 2004 to comment on the Boundary Committee's recommendations. Following this consultation the committee will send its final report to the deputy prime minister on 24 May 2004. An announcement confirming the final options in the ballot is expected by the summer with the referendum likely to take place in autumn 2004. The ballot will ask all voters in the north-west if they want to see a system of regional government and which would be their preferred option for local government if a directly elected regional assembly for the north-west is established.

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