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Lib Dems ensure controversial Tory plan for Leicestershire Unitary authority will be discussed at County Council

September 24, 2018 2:15 PM

Controversial plans to have one Unitary authority for the whole of Leicestershire and to abolish the existing seven Leicestershire Boroughs and Districts will be debated at this Wednesday's Leicestershire County Council meeting. This is despite the County Council's Conservative leadership not wanting the issue debated until the December Full Council meeting.

The issue has been raised by the Liberal Democrats who have submitted a motion on the issue to be debated at this Wednesday's County Council meeting

Proposer of the motion Leader of Leicestershire Lib Dems Cllr Simon Galton said "The County Council's financial position is extremely serious and there appears to be little prospect of austerity budgets coming to an end. Nick Rushton seems to be looking for a quick fix by getting rid of district councils however, tinkering about with structures will not address the fundamental and historic underfunding of public services in Leicestershire. Locally the Conservatives response to the cuts has been to centralise as many services as possible in County Hall and there is real concern that a single unitary council for the whole of Leicestershire would be unresponsive, lean and mean."

Seconder of the motion Lib Dem finance spokesman Cllr Michael Mullaney said "These proposals are the biggest change to local government in Leicestershire for half a century. The Tory County Council leadership announced the plans to scrap the Boroughs two days after the June County Council meeting, they now say they want the issue discussed at the December County Council meeting. It's totally outrageous that such a huge change was not to be debated by the Full County Council until six months after they were announced. This is totally unacceptable which is why we have brought this motion to Wednesday's meeting.

"The plans to abolish Hinckley and Bosworth, Oadby and Wigston and the other five Leicestershire Boroughs and Districts are totally flawed. One authority for the whole of Leicestershire would be too distant and remote from people's everyday lives. People in my area of Hinckley do not want their planning applications decided by a County authority in Glenfield.

"Already Tory MPs, and Tory council leaders have been extremely strong in their criticism of these plans. The government has made it clear that it won't pass changes to local government structures unless they are supported locally. These plans are clearly not supported locally.

"Instead of wasting many thousands of pounds of vitally needed public money on a pointless consultation on these plans, why doesn't the Tory County Council leadership just accept these proposals to abolish Leicestershire Boroughs and Districts are dead in the water. They should cut their losses, stop throwing good money after bad, and abandon these flawed unitary plans now."