Released On 10th Oct 2020
Government invites districts to submit full Stronger Somerset plan
The Leaders of Somerset’s district councils said in a joint statement today (October 10): “We have received the invitation from the Secretary of State to submit our innovative plan for real change in the way services are provided by local Government in Somerset.
“Our draft plan is already with the Government and, after listening to the views of our residents and key partners in the coming weeks, we will be ready to submit our full proposals within the deadlines that have been set and that they will fulfil all the Government’s requirements.
“All councils agreed on the need for change but the county council and the districts fundamentally differ in our view of why we need to reorganise.
“There is now a clear choice between a very traditional form of local government which aims to just save money and Stronger Somerset - a new approach that will deliver modern, efficient services and really focus on how we drive our economy forward, improve quality of life and deal with the climate crisis.
“This cannot be about delivering the cheapest form of Government without tackling the growing costs of services.
“Stronger Somerset is the only option to create a real solution to the challenges we face across the county. With 25% of our children living in poverty, with services for our young people with special needs failing, with communities feeling left behind and disconnected we can’t afford to keep things the way they are.
“Our vision for the future will create a Somerset where we can invest in our diverse and brilliant towns, city and villages and truly make a difference.”
A spokesman for the Government said: "Councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset will now have the opportunity to decide whether to develop and submit their locally-led proposals with the aim of any new unitary councils being established in these areas by April 2023.
"The government may receive more than one locally led proposal for each area reflecting the local debates. In the event of this, the Local Government Secretary will consider all proposals received and decide which, if any, subject to consultation and Parliamentary approval, to implement."
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