Three of our local MPs have revealed what they think about plans to create a new ‘super council’ in Nottinghamshire.
The idea, which has been put forward by the Conservative-led Nottinghamshire County Council, would involve abolishing all seven district and borough councils, and the county council, and creating one or two new authorities for the whole county, excluding the city.So, would they back plans that would spell the end for Gedling Borough Council?
Reporter Kit Sandeman asked each of our MPs to explain whether they supported or opposed the plan, and why.
Vernon Coaker, Labour, Gedling
“Local government has faced years of cuts from central government. Unitary authority status is not the answer to those years of cuts and underfunding. Without an end to austerity serious challenges will remain for our councils and vital local services.
“‘The notion of a unitary authority should be consulted on widely, residents should get a say, as should key organisations in the area and surrounding area including Nottingham City Council, businesses, charities and those that have been democratically elected to represent their communities.
“I personally, have not been approached by Nottinghamshire County Council regarding their proposal to abolish Gedling Borough Council, they have not consulted me or asked for my opinion as the local Member of Parliament and this is not good enough.
“If they really want the very best for the people of Nottinghamshire and for our communities, then they should be firstly calling on the Government for adequate funding and an end to austerity and then they should be conducting a real, clear and informative consultation, unfortunately that is not currently on offer from Nottinghamshire County Council’
Mark Spencer, Conservative, Sherwood
I recognise the benefits that would come from a single-tier authority. In my immediate area I’ve got four chief executives, four finance departments, and so on.
“It makes sense to cut through that bureaucracy and spend the savings on public services. However, this must be a democratic process.
“I want councils to work together and agree the best way forward – such a thing shouldn’t be forced upon them by the Government.”
Chris Leslie, Labour, Nottingham East
“While I don’t have any strong view about this specific set of proposals, if there could be savings to be made from layers of council management that could improve front-line services then we can’t ignore that money is finite for local government right now.
“I tend to generally think that because some areas have got parish, district and the county council a lot of people will be saying ‘do we really need all those?’
“You don’t have it in the city, you have one council, and that helps with accountability.
“I’m generally in favour of trying to make savings in the back office administration, but I think it’s not for me to specifically talk about the proposal in Nottinghamshire, because it doesn’t involve any of my constituents.”