U-turn on unitary in Bucks ‘unlikely’ despite cabinet reshuffle

Sajid Javid has been appointed as the new home secretary
Sajid Javid has been appointed as the new home secretary

A Government U-turn on ground-breaking council changes across Bucks is unlikely, despite a major cabinet reshuffle yesterday (Monday).

It was announced at the start of the week that MP James Brokenshire will take over from Sajid Javid as housing, communities and local government secretary after Mr Javid was appointed home secretary following Amber Rudd’s shock resignation on Sunday.

The move raised questions over the future of ‘super council’ discussions in the county – as just last month Mr Javid said he was “minded to approve” Bucks County Council’s plans to scrap all the county’s councils and create a single unitary authority.

The Government confirmed it is “business as usual” for the consultation and people are urged to continue sending in their views on the plans until May 25.

Council leader Martin Tett congratulated Mr Javid on his new role and added Mr Brokenshire has received “very clear direction” from his predecessor regarding unitary plans.

Cllr Tett said: “I think this is brilliant news for Sajid.

“He will make an excellent home secretary and I wish him well in his new role.

“I also offer my congratulations to James Brokenshire as his successor at the ministry of housing, communities and local Government.

“Cabinet reshuffles are not uncommon and departmental business should continue as normal.

“Mr Brokenshire has inherited a very clear direction from Sajid Javid that one new unitary council is ‘likely to improve local government’ in Buckinghamshire, while proposals for two are ‘unlikely to improve local Government in the area, generate significant savings, or provide the capacity to sustain major services’.

“I’m sure he will wish to reflect on comments received during this period of representation.

“However, I would urge him to give a clear decision on the way forward as soon as possible – a prolonged spell of uncertainty is in no-one’s interests.”

The four district councils in Bucks have long-opposed plans for a single-unitary authority, and instead formulated their own proposals for two councils in the north and south of the county.