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Last Updated: Wednesday, 18 January 2006, 17:25 GMT
MP says scrap two-tier councils
A Worcestershire MP wants all of the main councils in the county to be abolished in favour of one large body.

Michael Foster, Labour MP for Worcester, said millions of pounds would be saved by cutting the amount of bureaucracy in the area.

He said the current six districts and a county council is confusing for voters.

But the Conservative leader of Worcester City Council, Stephen Inman, said before changes can happen they need to be properly considered.

The government is planning changes to local council structures. A white paper on reorganisation is due to be published later this year.

Mr Inman said criticism of a two-tier system was not new and had been made since county councils were introduced in 1888.

'Duplication of effort'

"I would not say no to change. Maybe local government has got to change, maybe a two-tier system would be better, but we have got to be very wary what we put in place," he said.

"We want the government to tell us exactly what their proposals are at the moment. Everything in the public sector is currently up for reorganisation - from the police force to health authorities. Then local councils as well.

"All this change is going on and nobody knows quite where they are."

Mr Foster made his comments at a meeting of Labour supporters.

He said smaller locally-elected assemblies like town or parish councils, but with one councillor per ward, would improve voters' engagement in local government.

"There is a huge duplication of effort at the moment, with all six districts having their own bureaucracy merely duplicating each other. One single body could provide the back-office services far more cheaply than the present structure."

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