IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT SAVINGS
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.