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TWO-THIRDS OF ENGLAND LOOKS TO IMPROVED TWO-TIER

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Some 22 million people living in shire England will continue to enjoy the benefits of a two-tier system of local go...
Some 22 million people living in shire England will continue to enjoy the benefits of a two-tier system of local government if recommendations for the future of the 39 English county areas are enacted in full.

About eight million will be affected by change, as envisaged under the Local Government Commission's final recommendations, to dismantle current county and district councils and establish 45 new unitary authorities.

Today's announcement by the commission for the five remaining county areas under review confirms that the existing arrangement of county and district councils providing local services is both supported locally and is the most effective system of local government for those areas, says the Association of County Councils.

Among the five, only one area - Derby City - would become a unitary council.

'Today's outcome mirrors the commission's approach in many other English county areas and demonstrates the strong wight of public opinion against the costs and dubious benefits of wholesale change' said ACC chair Josie Farrington.

'We welcome the recommendations and trust that the environment secretary will accept the.

'But we remain concerned that certain counties in the early stages of the commission's review did not enjoy the same level of local consultation with the public as those later in the process.

'With the parliamentary order to change the local government arrangements in Cleveland before the commons today, there is a stark contrast between the five counties for which the commission has published recommendations, where people have been able to express a view on whether there should be any change at all, and Cleveland, Avon and Humberside where residents have not been offered the same choice.

'For county areas set to remain asthey are, or with limited change, the next steps must be to plan for the future. Improving the current system to ensure closer links are established and maintained between parish, district and county councils, so that local government is strengthened and continues to enjoy local support will be a crucial task for the coming months.'

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