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Letter: MPs Remarks Reveal the Dictatorial Motives Behind Planned Local Government Change

Published on: 21 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 21 Jul, 2020

Letter from Tim Oliver re Unitary Authority

From Keith Childs

hon alderman and former Mayor of Guildford

I have long been an advocate of unitary authorities. The division of responsibilities between district councils and the county council is patently inefficient, confusing for residents and expensive.

But the creation of a county-wide unitary would be completely wrong. It flies in the face of subsidiarity and is a move towards further centralisation at a time when the trend is towards greater devolution. The optimum structure for local government in Surrey is to have three or four unitary authorities and to abolish the county council.

I wish to register a strong objection to two comments attributed in The Dragon to Sir Paul Beresford. The first is that he advocates that a decision on this should be made without public consultation. It is nothing short of preposterous that a major decision on the form of local government should be made without consulting local people.

The second is his appalling statement that it would be a benefit for planning decisions to be taken centrally by a county-wide unitary authority “…where factors other than local nimbyism will be considered.”

This is an insult to the thorough work carried out by district and borough planning committees and their officers in order to make decisions in the best interests of their communities.

These two remarks hint at the dictatorial nature foreseen for the new body, by those promoting it.

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test One Response to Letter: MPs Remarks Reveal the Dictatorial Motives Behind Planned Local Government Change

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    July 22, 2020 at 9:32 am

    Cllr Oliver was not elected, nor any member of his party, on a banner of destroying borough councils in favour of single unitary authority.

    Across the world incumbents voted in have changed the law to extend their period of office. We should be very wary of this trend occurring in England.

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