Letter to a minister

Somerset County Council Leader David Fothergill has today written to Robert Jenrick MP, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government. That letter will, he hopes,  kickstart the case for a Unitary Council for Somerset.

This follows an independent report commissioned by Somerset County Council and thefour district councils of Somerset which what he regards as “clear benefits of switching to unitary.

Although the report suggest up to £47m could be saved, Cllr Fothergill is being more conservative in his assessment. He has publicly stated his belief that financial savings of up to £25 million can be made by cutting waste and reducing duplication, savings that would be reinvested to improve vital services.

As The Leveller reported in our lead story for March, part of the changes will offer a significant opportunity for the towns of Somerset and the City of Wells. Cllr Fothergill again “We could also devolve powers to our towns, parishes and cities who are very capable and not remote like the district councils. They could be there looking after their communities and really providing very local services.”

In his budget presentation to Somerset County Council on Wednesday David Fothergill outlined other key benefits he sees from the Unitary Project:

  • Remove duplication and inefficiencies – creating a £25m unitary bonus
  • Invest that £25m in our communities
  • Devolve funding and responsibilities below remote district councils, to town and
    parish councils, closer to our communities wherever possible
  • End confusion over which council delivers which service – the current system is a
  • And of course everything we do must improve lives for our residents.

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