Unitary authority would save �20million

MORE than �20 million of taxpayers money could be saved within the next fours years - if Devon was run by a single super council.

MORE than �20 million of taxpayers' money could be saved within the next fours years - if Devon was run by a single 'super council.'

The Boundary Committee has published estmiated costs if Devon's district council's and county council were merged into a single unitary authority.

Last week two revised proposals were presented - one council to run services except Plymouth and Torbay; and a similar plan but with an extra authority responsible for Exeter and Exmouth and rural

Devon.


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And if the plans are backed after the final July deadline, the Committee estimate changing to a unitary authority would cost �74.3m, with the Exeter and Exmouth plan �76.5m.

These costs, they say, could be recovered over three and a half years from savings of �96.8m - and savings afterwards would be �17.1m annually.

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The projections by independent financial consultants were based on figures from Devon's councils from the 2007-2008 financial year - and are a mix of 'ongoing' and 'one-off' costs linked with the change over.

They add that council tax hikes would not be needed too pay for it and

most of the savings, �69.7m, would come from reducing staff.

The remainder would come from 'buying more standard items and services' in greater numbers and savings in insurance premiums, audit and treasury management.

Archie Gall, Director of the Boundary Committee, said: "Councils in the county provided us with the figures we needed to come up with this information, and our independent financial consultants carried out an analysis of those numbers.

"The Secretary of State will make a decision whether or not to implement patterns of unitary local government here.

"If she chooses to do that, it will be up to any new body to organise its own finances.

"That includes decisions about what your council tax might be. We've

published today a synopsis of the detailed analysis carried out by our independent financial consultants.

"We're keen to hear what people in the county think of the potential affordability of our further draft proposals, as well as views on other aspects of the proposals.

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