Gummer in third snub to councils

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JOHN GUMMER, Secretary of State for the Environment, issued another rebuff for the Local Government Commission yesterday by rejecting its suggestion that the structure of councils in Gloucestershire should not be changed, writes Christian Wolmar.

Mr Gummer's decision will put further pressure on Sir John Banham, the head of the commission. It had suggested that Gloucestershire County Council should be abolished to create three authorities but this proved unpopular locally. In response to public consultation, the commission then suggested keeping the status quo.

Mr Gummer wrote to Sir John saying: 'I am not at present convinced that effective and convenient local government will be best achieved by making no change.' He wants the options re-examined.

This is the third time that Mr Gummer has rejected the commission's reviews. Last November, he referred back its findings on Derbyshire and Co Durham.