Independent study to examine unitary council options

Martin Tett PNL-151119-111142001
Martin Tett PNL-151119-111142001

Bucks County Council is poised to examine a business case for creating a unitary authority.

This newspaper can exclusively reveal that Martin Tett, leader of the council will speak with his cabinet on Monday, with a view to launching an independent commission which would decide how a new authority would look.

Mr Tett also says that he is going to write to the four district councils asking them to be part of the process, and to adhere to the findings of a final report.

There are a number of unitary models to choose from, including a single Bucks-wide council or splitting the county into north and south unitary councils.

Entitled Future of Local Government In Buckinghamshire, the debate is the only item on the agenda of Monday’s extraordinary meeting.

Mr Tett said: “I am going to suggest that we all submit evidence and be bound by whatever agreement the commission decides on.

“We need to update the assumptions on what savings could be achieved, we need to simplify local government for the residents and deliver the very best services for the lowest possible cost which would allow us to protect and improve our frontline services.”

Mr Tett said that the unitary process would not happen overnight.

“It could take two to three years of this process for anything to happen, it wouldn’t affect any of the councils’ finances in the short to medium term. But the revenue support grant (money from central government) will be scrapped for all councils by then, and the money will come from business rates and local council tax only. This will be the case no matter what is decided, but a unitary authorty would enable us to save money.”