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County council’s One Cumbria plan for local Government revealed

Cumbria House. Picture: Google Streetview

More details have been revealed about Cumbria County Council’s proposal for the future of local government in the county.

The Government has now started formal consultation on the future of local government in Cumbria.  The consultation was launched/published yesterday.

In total the Secretary of State received four proposals from councils in Cumbria.

The proposal from Cumbria County Council is for One Cumbria – a new unitary council for the whole of Cumbria which has the following benefits.

Cumbria County Council say One Cumbria will:

  • Make services more direct and much easier to access in a single council wherever you are in Cumbria – simplifying and removing artificial boundaries between councils and places – ending the current confusion of who does what.
  • Ensure more decisions are taken and services delivered in communities in towns and villages across Cumbria – rather than at district or county level.
  • Deliver substantial savings of £50 million a year – significantly more than two new unitary councils which would cost in excess of £20 million more.
  • Improve lives by providing care and support to those who need it most – with the scale to form strategic relationships with partners, and the local delivery to meet individual needs.
  • Give Cumbria ‘one’ powerful voice that will be heard in Government – stronger and more accountable than coordinating multiple organisations.
  • Create jobs and boost the economy – securing more funding and creating greater capacity to deliver strategic improvements that will unlock economic growth.
  • Significantly reduce the number of senior officers and elected councillors – more efficient and effective than having two or more councils.
  • Provide strong strategic leadership when it matters – ensuring the best for the county as a whole and supporting areas most in need, in times of crisis, recovery and in normal time.
  • Maximise the benefits of the buying power, resources and capacity of a single council for the whole of Cumbria – ensuring the greatest benefit for communities.
  • Deliver a total net benefit, after five years, of a new ‘single’ council for Cumbria in excess of £186 million. This is £105million more, than any other model.

Commenting on the announcement, Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, said: “This day has been a long time coming and I am personally delighted that it is here.

“At long last the Cumbrian people and its many organisations, partners and businesses have been offered the opportunity to influence and shape the future of local government in our county.

“Removing layers of unnecessary bureaucracy and streamlining seven councils down into a local model that makes much more sense to our residents and to our communities.

“I can only hope that despite everything else that is going on at the moment, that people try and make the time to make their views and opinions known so that any final decision by government can be informed by what people want locally.”

In total the Secretary of State received four proposals, and is consulting on them all – the proposals are as follows:

  1. Cumbria County Council submitted a proposal for a single unitary council covering the county area of Cumbria County One Cumbria.
  2. The two councils – Allerdale and Copeland – jointly submitted a proposal for two unitary councils: West Cumbria comprising the area covered by Allerdale Borough, Carlisle City and Copeland Borough Councils  and East Cumbria comprising the area covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District Councils.
  3. The two councils – Barrow and South Lakeland  – jointly submitted a proposal for two unitary councils: ‘The Bay’ comprising the area covered by Barrow Borough, South Lakeland District and Lancaster City Councils and North Cumbria comprising the area covered by Allerdale Borough, Carlisle City, Copeland Borough and Eden District Councils.
  4. The two councils – Carlisle and Eden  – jointly submitted a proposal for two unitary councils: North Cumbria comprising the area covered by Allerdale Borough,  Carlisle City and Eden District Councils and South Cumbria comprising the area covered by Barrow Borough, Copeland Borough and South Lakeland District Councils.

The timetable for consultation is from February 22 to April 19.

As a result of this consultation launch, the district and county council elections due to be held in May this in Cumbria will be rescheduled to May next year.

You can find out more about the One Cumbria proposal at onecumbria.org, which includes a link to the government’s consultation website.