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Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2006, 10:21 GMT
One council 'could save millions'
Switching to a unitary authority could save Cumbria £15m and significantly reduce bureaucracy, according to the county council.

Proposals are being drawn up in response to a government white paper, inviting local authorities to consider the merits of a single council.

Under the plans - which are not finalised - the number of councillors could be reduced from 371 to 84.

Carlisle City Council said it wanted a "full consultation" process.

The new authority would be cheaper to run, less bureaucratic and more able to deliver local solutions
Tim Stoddard, Cumbria County Council leader

The new countywide model would mean reducing the number of chief executives from seven to one and cutting the amount of senior directors.

However, this is just one approach being considered, and a detailed proposal will be put to a full council vote on 25 January.

According to the county council, a unitary authority would mean more power and responsibility for those that are elected, making councillors more effective in getting things done in their area.

'Detailed proposal'

Tim Stoddard, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: "The initial findings as we build a business case is that we're in a win-win situation.

"The new authority would be cheaper to run, less bureaucratic and more able to deliver local solutions to local problems.

"We still have a month to go before a detailed proposal is voted on at full council, but the early signs are that the case for a unitary Cumbria is a compelling one."

There are currently six district councils in Cumbria - Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland.

Local authorities are due to reply to the government white paper by the end of January 2007.




SEE ALSO
Council considers unitary switch
10 Nov 06 |  Cumbria
Mendip rejects unitary authority
12 Dec 06 |  Somerset
Councils to support joint venture
01 Sep 06 |  Lancashire
Council overhaul to be looked at
17 May 06 |  Oxfordshire

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