Lincolnshire council leader says unitary authority is inevitable

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill with Dr Liam Fox, the Minister for International Trade, on a visit to Grantham.
Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Martin Hill with Dr Liam Fox, the Minister for International Trade, on a visit to Grantham.
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The people of Lincolnshire will be asked for their views on the concept of a unitary authority later this year.

County councillors voted in favour of seeking the views of residents on the principle of moving to a unitary system of local government in Lincolnshire.

Following a debate at full council, the majority of councillors voted in favour of carrying out some form of consultation later this year.

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council Coun Martin Hill said the county, district and city councils will be scrapped to be replaced by one authority. He said: “I stand by the premise that it is right that residents have their say on the future of local government in the county. We should listen to the people we represent, not dictate to them.

“I believe the current system is complicated, wasteful and no longer financially sustainable.

“Without change, important local services are already being reduced and even cut entirely. The savings could also be used to keep council tax down, helping local families as they struggle to make ends meet themselves.”

The two-tier system in Lincolnshire comprises the county council and seven district councils. Coun Hill said a unitary system, could save £30 million a year – or £82,000 every day.

On a visit to Grantham yesterday (Thursday) with Coun Hill, the Minister for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, who is MP for North Somerset, told the Journal that a unitary authority was a good thing. He said: “We ended up with a unitary authority in North Somerset and it was the best thing that ever happened to us and you can’t find people to admit they wanted to keep the county council, or at least very few of them.

“The great thing about it is that people know who is accountable to them and they know that for the ward they live in one peron is accountable for all those services. They know exactly who to go to.It makes it much more cleaner, more accountable, more efficient and the last thing we need in this country are more politicians and more bureaucrats. The fewer we can have the better.”

What form the public consultation will take is not yet known.