Letter: Single-tier district councils will not succeed

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The Independent Online
Sir: The system advocated by the 164 chief executives of district councils who wrote to you (letter, 21 April) would not produce the utopian one council governing all. In fact, there would be three new tiers. Unitary councils themselves would have to band together in 'joint boards' to run the strategic services. Also, as any new unitaries would be far bigger than the existing districts, there would be a profusion of what would virtually be new area committees or councils.

It is also difficult to see how the halving of elected councillors would add up to better representation. On the officer front, each new unitary would no doubt want new heads for services, such as education and social services, thus duplicating the numbers of directors far beyond the recent countywide structure.

Finally, the cost of the upheaval. For the districts' favoured option, in Kent the payback period of the pounds 75m transitional costs for tax payers would stretch for 107 years. Nationally, the districts themselves have now admitted the bill is likely to be well over pounds 1bn.

The case for change has still not been made.

Yours sincerely,

PAUL SABIN

Chief Executive

Kent County Council

Maidstone, Kent

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