Northamptonshire (and why Somerset should care about it)

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In our lead article in the Leveller this month (March) we discuss the resolute opposition of the Conservative administrations in Devon and Somerset to a unitary authority. In other words cutting back the cost of administration by reducing the layers of local government from 3 to 2.

It is especially interesting therefore to note that the Conservative Government solution to Northamptonshire’s failure to manage as a County Council. Faced with the collapse of a County Council with 7 District or Borough councils below it, the government now proposes to split local government in Northamptonshire into 2 unitary authorities. So in other words replacing 8 councils with just two.

It is worth reflecting on this as Somerset County Council consults on plans to drastically reduce the level of library service in the county. If SCC had adopted a unitary approach, much of the saving generated could have been used to support front line services now under threat.

The Conservative government in London understand that. Cornwall, Wilstshire, Dorset, North Somerset and Bath all get it. How long must Somerset wait?