Councils shake-up is under fire: Local Government Commission to announce more proposals today

PROPOSALS made by the Local Government Commission for England are beginning to provoke fierce controversy.

Cleveland County Council, which the commission proposes should be abolished, is considering seeking a judicial review; Margaret Beckett, Labour MP for Derby South, has warned that the commission is being put under political pressure; and Geoffrey Filkin, secretary of the Association of District Councils, has described the commission's job as a 'nightmare'.

Today the commission announces its proposals for Lincolnshire, Humberside and North Yorkshire.

It has already published draft recommendations for four areas. The plan to create one unitary authority in the Isle of Wight is uncontroversial. The decision to abolish Cleveland and base new authorities in Hartlepool, Langbaurgh, Middlesbrough and Stockton-on-Tees has led to a claim by the county council that it could lose European Community money for a pounds 30m roads programme.

In Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset, the proposal is to replace 20 district and county councils with eight new all-purpose authorities. 'A disastrous series of mini-Avons across Gloucestershire,' the county council has said.

But the proposal for one unitary authority for the city of Derby, and one for the rest of Derbyshire, abolishing all the remaining districts, is the most politically sensitive recommendation. As Derbyshire is seen as a typical county, the decision has sent clear signals to surrounding areas, such as Staffordshire and Nottinghamshire.

The commission is looking at community identity, delivery of services and costs. The cost argument seems to be a weighty one. In Derbyshire, the commission, in explanatory leaflets, pointed out council tax savings. Misleading, the district councils said. Mr Filkin reminded ministers that the level of council tax depends on the policies of any new council and how much money central government gives to local authorities.

The commission was split over its recommendations for Derbyshire and at one stage considered not putting forward a preferred option, simply listing a series of alternatives. With Avon, Gloucestershire and Somerset it has given much more emphasis to the idea of just keeping the status quo. These are our views, but if you do not like them, stay as you are, seemed to be the invitation.

Sir John Banham, head of the commission, has made much of his desire to seek the widest possible consultation. But even if every man, woman and dog in South Derbyshire objects, it will come to nought. Residents in South Derbyshire would have to join up with those in other councils to have a chance of changing the commission's mind.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living