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Allerdale and Copeland councils submit plan for local government reform

Mike Johnson and Mike Starkie

Local leaders have welcomed the news from the Government that they are to press ahead with a consultation on reorganisation of local government in Cumbria.

Allerdale Council and Copeland Council jointly submitted a proposal to the government in December 2020.

The details of the consultation can be found at: https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/cumbria/.

Mike Johnson, deputy leader at Allerdale Council, said: “The announcement is fabulous news for Cumbria as it signals the start of real progress for the county on how local government could be run in the future.

“I’m also pleased to see that the government is including the proposals we put forward with colleagues from Copeland Borough Council in the consultation.

“We obviously made a compelling case to government. So I’m pleased to have that opportunity to now put this case forward to the people of Allerdale and the rest of Cumbria.

“Local government reorganisation will deliver better services for our residents, better value for money and create jobs post COVID through a new approach to economic development and inward investment.

“We believe that our model will best meet the challenges local government and our communities will face in the future. This view is echoed by many people in our community and local political and business leaders alike.

“It will create organisations that are large enough to drive our ambition for growth and excellent service delivery, as well as maintain close links with the people we serve.

“The approach taken by Allerdale and Copeland will also ensure that our are most vulnerable residents are better supported to improve their lives, that businesses get the support to expand and create jobs and that local communities will keep their identity and have influence on what happens in their areas.

“For too long residents have had to negotiate a complex system where different councils provide different services – our two unitary option will provide clarity for residents, be delivered at a lower cost, and get access to funding and investment Cumbria doesn’t have access to.

“This is very much a time for the debate to begin and I urge people to respond to the consultation and choose the east/west option as this is the best for residents, the best for business and provide the best future of our children.”

Also welcoming the news, Mike Starkie, Copeland Mayor, said: “We welcome the Government’s launch of a public consultation into local government reorganisation in Cumbria, and the inclusion of the joint submission by Copeland Council and Allerdale Council as one of the four options being considered.

“We have made a compelling case for change with the two-unitary model we propose; with Copeland, Allerdale and Carlisle forming a West authority, and Eden, South Lakeland and Barrow forming an East authority.

“It would create organisations that are large enough to drive our ambitions for growth and excellent service delivery, while maintaining local identity and close links to our local communities.

“It is crucial that Copeland and Allerdale remain part of the same authority in any future model. Our local population, and our community and industry leaders, are equally unequivocal in this regard, and our proposal reflects that.

“The Government is actively driving its devolution agenda, and the right platform and structure needs to be created in Cumbria to allow the area to prosper, unlock growth, and to facilitate the levelling up agenda in the near future.

“We believe our model is the option that will deliver the future we deserve, and we encourage our community to respond to this important consultation to make your voices heard.”

Details of the proposal put forward by Allerdale and Copeland councils can be found on their respective websites at: https://www.allerdale.gov.uk/en/council-and-democracy/local-government-reorganisation/ and https://www.copeland.gov.uk/local-government-reorganisation-information.

The details of the consultation can be found at: https://consult.communities.gov.uk/governance-reform-and-democracy/cumbria/.