IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT SAV­INGS

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - OPINION - HEATHER POMROY Full ad­dress sup­plied

Ap­par­ently by re­duc­ing uni­tary coun­cils from five to two, a sav­ing of £58 mil­lion over five years will be made. Since the press re­lease, Chiltern District Coun­cil has voted in favour of this pro­posal and con­se­quently the coun­cil’s demise.

Coun­cil­lor Iso­bel Darby was quoted as say­ing: “Two new uni­tary coun­cils means ar­range­ments are even more lo­cal.”

How can this be? Or has there been a change in the def­i­ni­tion of lo­cal? Surely it means there will be fewer coun­cil of­fi­cers and fewer coun­cil­lors and con­se­quently less sup­port for lo­cal pub­lic needs.

Coun­cil­lor Darby is also quoted as say­ing: “Coun­cils sup­ported by lo­cal coun­cil­lors can en­gage with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties en­cour­ag­ing them to re­duce the de­mand on ser­vices and to step into the breach left by the with­drawal of pub­licly pro­vided ser­vices”.

I as­sume that what she means by this is that peo­ple should look after them­selves and each other with­out both­er­ing the coun­cil for any sup­port.

In my view, lo­cal coun­cils ex­ist to pro­vide ser­vices which are es­sen­tial to the well-be­ing of so­ci­ety. Ser­vices which can­not be vi­ably pro­vided on a profit mak­ing ba­sis and which should be avail­able to all ac­cord­ing to need.

We pay our coun­cil tax to cover the cost of these ser­vices and to en­sure that they are pro­vided by peo­ple who have the ex­per­tise and sup­port to do so. Sav­ing costs should not be the be all and end all of Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment.

The pro­posal will be put to the Sec­re­tary of State, Sa­jid Javid this week. IN a Chiltern District Coun­cil press re­lease of last week, the pro­posal for uni­tary coun­cils in Buck­ing­hamshire to be re­duced from five to two was an­nounced in pos­i­tive terms.

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