Page last updated at 23:28 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 00:28 UK

Unitary council comes into being

Northumberland Council staff
Council workers at the new Northumberland County Council

A "super council" has come into being in Northumberland.

As part of a government shake-up, the six district councils and one county council merged to become a unitary authority on Wednesday.

The new Northumberland County Council will have an annual expenditure of nearly £750m.

Jeff Reid, leader of the council, said the abolition of the old two-tier system would provide better services and improved value for money.

"Residents should notice very little difference on a day-to-day basis," Councillor Reid said.

"Bins will continue to be emptied, roads will still be maintained, children will continue to be educated and elderly people will continue to be cared for.

"The main difference will be behind the scenes. By bringing the seven councils together we are able to remove duplication, reduce costs and deliver more efficient services."

He added: "This is a very exciting time for the county."

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