'No blueprint' for unitary authorities

The Government yesterday indicated that it had no national blueprint for unitary local government authorities.

Fears that single authorities would be imposed throughout England before the next general election diminished when John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, rejected key recommendations on the restructuring of local councils. The Local Government Commission was set up in 1991 to review the county and district councils in England and to decide if re-organisation was necessary.

So far the Government's only decisions have been over the Isle of Wight and Cleveland, where the commission's recommendations of unitary authorities were accepted.

The commission will deliver its reorganisation recommendations on 9 of the remaining 32 shires today.

Yesterday, Mr Gummer announced in a Commons answer that Avon County Council -in line with the commission's recommendations - will be replaced by four unitary authorities. For Somerset the commission had recommended three unitary authorities. But Mr Gummer said that after 'taking into account the number and strength of opposition', he had decided to retain the two-tier structure.

On Humberside the commission had recommended the abolition of the county council and the county of Humberside in favour of four unitary authorities.

Subject to 'minor modifications', Mr Gummer will follow this option.

Lincolnshire's two-tier structure will be left untouched.

For North Yorkshire, where abolition of the county council was recommended with the existing eight districts combined to form three unitary authorities, Mr Gummer said he accepted the commission's view that the City of York should become a unitary authority. However, again in view of 'strong representations', he said the present two-tier system will remain.

Mr Gummer said that his decisions now meant that England, from April 1996, would have nine further unitary authorities. He said that local people in these areas would enjoy the benefits that unitary authorities brought, including 'improved accountability and an understanding of where responsibility for services lies'.

However, the Government has clearly felt pressures from some areas where resistance to further change has been judged to be more hostile than anticipated. When the commission was set up in 1991 unitary authorities were regarded within government circles as the future of efficient local government. Mr Gummer's decisions yesterday appear to indicate a weakening of that position.

Constitutional proposals for a Scottish parliament were published in Edinburgh yesterday. A report, commissioned by the cross-party Scottish Constitutional Convention, proposes a 112-member body, elected using the additional member voting system.

The 112-strong parliament would, the report says, 'take responsibility for all areas of policy presently within the remit of the Scottish Office'. The executive of the new assembly would assume the duties of the Secretary of State for Scotland, but Westminster would retain responsibility for foreign affairs, defence, social security and economic policy.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
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

Science Teacher

£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Science Teacher - South Es...

NQT Secondary Teachers

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education is actively r...

A Level Chemistry Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: A Level Chemistry Teacher - Humb...

RE Teacher

£120 - £162 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Teacher of Religious Education ...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering