Demands to clear up unitary confusion by xmas

BEFORE Christmas the Government should end the uncertainty over plans to create a single council to run all Devon.

BEFORE Christmas the Government should end the uncertainty over plans to create a single council to run all Devon.

East Devon MP Hugo Swire last week challenged the Government to put up or shut up and end the confusion.

In the Commons Mr Swire asked for John Denham the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to make a statement to the House on his intentions.

The Boundary Commission have recommended that Devon's eight district councils and one county council should be replaced by a single unitary authority.

This new 'super council' would be responsible for all of Devon except Plymouth and Torbay.

But if plans are carried through the Conservatives have pledged to reverse this decision - if they win power next year.

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Shadow Minister for Local Government and Planning Bob Neill MP confirmed that the Conservatives will take 'all steps' to reverse any such decision.

During business questions last Thursday Mr Swire asked leader of the House Harriet Harman: "...the recent local government reorganisation in Cornwall trebled in cost from �20 million to �60 million...

"...any legislation enacted by this Government to reorganise local government, particularly in Devon, would be changed by legislation by an incoming Tory Government...

"...will the Leader of the House have a word with her colleague... (John Denham)...and ask him to come to the House before Christmas to make a statement to end the uncertainties...?"

The new consultation period over proposed changes has been extended to January 19.

Mr Swire said that even if the Government pressed ahead with 'forcing unitary status on Devon' there was 'no way' the legislation could be brought to the House before April 2010, which he said would be either during or just before the General Election campaign.

He added: "John Denham MP should now knock this whole thing on the head and end the uncertainty that many employees of councils around Devon have about their future."


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