Letter: Unitary councils: power to central government, loss of the citizen's role and a fight for jobs

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The Independent Online
Sir: While I regret the 'county bashing' indulged in by Darryl Stephenson (25 April), much of the more constructive part of his letter deserves support.

There certainly are benefits and opportunities in unitary authorities, provided they are based on a strong sense of community, will be self-sufficient in service planning teams, or nearly so, and are likely to command solid popular support. Major cities in shire areas such as Hull clearly come into this category and deserve the chance to show what they can do as unitary authorities. For this reason, Staffordshire County Council has fully recognised the claim of the City of Stoke-on-Trent to be a unitary authority. In this respect we believe that the 1974 reorganisation was wrong.

Outside large conurbations, however, the case for unitary local government is much weaker, as most commentators and the Local Government Commission itself have recognised. The Commission's work to date suggests that rural communities are resistant to having new unitary authorities thrown upon them. This is perhaps why the Government has said that it has no 'national blueprint' for local government reorganisation.

Yours sincerely,


County Clerk and

Chief Executive


County Council


26 April