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Devolution plans delayed?

October 2, 2020 8:00 PM
By Dave Busby

gsawThe Government's White Paper on devolution and local recovery - expected to include proposals to reorganise local government in England - will not be published until next year, it is reported. Local Government Minister Simon Clarke MP, who was leading the reforms, resigned in early September. He had told the LGA's annual conference the paper would be published in September and would "pave the way for more unitary councils".

Here in Suffolk there is mixed feelings amongst the various councils for a switch to unitary. The basic issue is how many - one, two or three. The county obviously favours one with them taking the lead. Ipswich wants to be the centre of one and I guess doesn't really care how the rest of Suffolk comes together but, without drawing in many of the villages and market towns around it, Ipswich is just not large enough in terms of population.

The districts either favour two - the West based on Bury St Edmunds and the East on Ipswich - or more likely three, the West taking in Sudbury and probably Stowmarket, the East from the A140 to the coast and down as far as Woodbridge and the South East from Hadleigh to Needham Market to Woodbridge including Felixstowe and Ipswich.

Obviously, it is hoped that operating under Unitaries will reduce costs, improve efficiencies and service and give each more clout in attracting inward investment. However, unless forced down this route it is challenge on the far horizon.

October 2nd