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Letter: SCC’s Oliver Fails to Tell Residents Why His ‘Bigger is Better’ Plan is Best For Us

Published on: 20 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 20 Jul, 2020

Letter from Tim Oliver re Unitary Authority

From: David Roberts

In response to: County Council’s Tory Leader Tells Whitehall of Plan for Single Authority Rule

I’m open-minded about the merits of unitary councils. Living in Guildford borough, who wouldn’t be? But SCC leader Tim Oliver fails miserably to explain why Surrey is the right unit for the job.

If bigger is always better, then local government isn’t necessary at all. We could bring back Labour’s Regional Development Boards, which followed much the same logic of circumventing planning safeguards and kick-starting enterprise. Or we just let Dominic Cummings rule us all from No10.

Throwing around unsubstantiated savings figures of £36 million or £100 million a year simply isn’t an argument. Nor is political kite-flying without a reasoned case.

Instead of ostentatiously begging Whitehall to let him present a business case, Cllr Oliver should reveal his analysis now. Residents have a right to chapter-and-verse. Otherwise, they will reasonably conclude this is just another power-grab or Tory stunt, cynically timed to cash in on current national disasters.

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Responses to Letter: SCC’s Oliver Fails to Tell Residents Why His ‘Bigger is Better’ Plan is Best For Us

  1. John Perkins Reply

    July 20, 2020 at 3:10 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree, though I suspect this is not so much a power grab as an attempt at distraction from an expensive body which serves little purpose, has a poor reputation and might be worried about its continued existence.

    Rather than concentrating power in one authority, by definition more remote from the electorate, it’s simpler to be rid of SCC. Members allowances and expenses alone would save nearly £2 million a year.

  2. Julian Sheppard Reply

    July 21, 2020 at 10:14 am

    Yes, why is a single new authority, that corresponds to the current Surrey county boundaries, ideal? Should borough councils be scrapped or the county council?

    If existing boroughs councils are not able to take on SCC roles, then what about a number of unitary authorities sized between borough and county?

    The case has not been made clear.

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