The leader of the Labour Group at Nottinghamshire County Council says that the recent consultation, a report published today (December 5) which shows a majority of the 2,926 people who replied to the initial consultation do not support becoming a unitary authority.
Councillor Alan Rhodes, Labour Group Leader, Nottinghamshire County Council
“This process has been mismanaged from start to finish, the costs and savings don’t stack up and some residents, especially in the South of the County will be paying significantly more in council tax.
The consultation will clearly not be ‘representative’, as it will not be sent to every household, effectively excluding many council taxpayers from having their say. The argument that it is available to all ‘online’ is not good enough, as not everyone who will be affected by the enormity of this decision actually has access to the internet.
We believe that every household should be consulted, not just a chosen few. This process is not democratic and therefore not acceptable, especially on an issue of this importance”.
The report, published by external company ORS, said: “Only three in ten individual respondents agreed with the principle of replacing the two-tier local government with a unitary (super council) system, while more than six in 10 disagreed.
There was more support than average in Newark and Sherwood and Rushcliffe, but only about a quarter were favourable in the remaining districts.
Speaking in support of the plan, the leader of the council, Councillor Kay Cutts, who represents the Radcliffe-on-Trent ward for the Conservatives, said: “We shall save in the first year £27 million, and in every year after that, we will save £27 million.
“The setup costs are probably between £19 and £20 million. Those figures have been verified, and we will make that saving in the first year.”
When asked why having just one super council was her preferred option of the seven initially considered, she said: “It delivers better services.
“It allows us to deliver the services more evenly and it’s straightforward. We haven’t got to break anything up, because if we went with, let’s say, two unitary authorities, we would have to start breaking up all the things we do now, and that’s quite a difficult thing to do, so this allows us to carry on delivering the services.
“The savings we will make are important, but I think it’s more so that people will know which council to go to if they have an issue.”