Magazine article Public Finance

LibDems Want Single-Tier Councils Chosen 'Openly'

Magazine article Public Finance

LibDems Want Single-Tier Councils Chosen 'Openly'

Article excerpt

Opposition MPs have warned local government ministers that they must select councils bidding for single-tier status in an open way.

Communities and Local Government secretary Ruth Kelly has revealed that 26 authorities, representing 19 areas, have submitted bids for unitary status: more than ministers expected when they launched the process in October.

Just eight councils are likely to be selected, DCLG officials have said, although Kelly s team is now considering raising that figure if it is difficult to choose between several strong bids.

However, Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat spokesman on local government, warned Kelly not to opt for boundary changes that are simply convenient to Labour Party interests.

'A process which plumps for the government's own preferences, overlooks strong local objections or seeks to impose a uniform approach will not be acceptable,' he said. …

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