Released On 14th Jun 2021
"There is a crystal-clear majority for two unitary authorities" - a letter to Rt Hon Robert Jenrick
The Leaders of Somerset's four District Councils have written to Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, in the wake of the Local Poll which showed overwhelming support for Stronger Somerset from residents in the county.
In the letter, the Leaders confirm that the districts have a transition team ready to engage with Government officials on the next stages towards implementation.
In the recent Local Poll, 65.3% voted for two unitaries delivering services close to the communities of Eastern and Western Somerset. Just 34.7% supported a proposal for a single unitary with a turnout of more than 111,000.
The Leaders state: "There is a crystal-clear majority for two unitary authorities, not one. And this is the third time the Somerset public have rejected a County Council single unitary; In the 2007 referendum where 82% opposed a single unitary council, in the Ipsos MORI poll late last year where a single unitary was the last option people wanted, and now in the recent referendum. These results are not anomalies. There is consistent, longstanding and deeply felt opposition to a County Council unitary expressed several times over many years. Each time the people of Somerset are asked they repeat exactly the same answer.
"Our judgement is that it is vital to the credibility of the decision-making process and to the delivery of the Government’s goal of ‘levelling up’ that you now declare Stronger Somerset the preferred option."