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Supercouncil could set us back by years, says Bournemouth council leader
10:54am Wednesday 28th August 2013 in News
MERGING Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch into one city-sized local authority would be "very expensive and hugely disruptive", the leader of Bournemouth council has said.
Uniting the Conurbation – an independent campaign to create one city along Poole Bay – has produced a discussion paper setting out the benefits of the idea.
The campaign brings together business and political figures and reaches across parties.
It is fronted by two former leaders of Bournemouth council – Liberal Democrat Douglas Eyre and Conservative David Trenchard.
Councillor John Beesley, Leader of Bournemouth Borough Council, said: “Since 2007 Bournemouth Council has followed a clearly defined long-term strategy focussed on a slimmed down organisation, delivering much greater efficiency and a transformation of services for local residents. We have made efficiency savings of over £32 million since 2007, with even more underway over the next few years from our partnership with Mouchel.
“We have also been following a very successful shared services agenda with our neighbouring Councils since 2007 which is delivering significant benefits in terms of savings and maintained or even improved services across the conurbation.
“Local government has changed out of all proportion in recent years and that is why we are putting so much effort into things like the development of the Dorset LEP and our joint City Deal bid as that will be where the benefits for council tax payers will be for the future. One authority across the conurbation may seem attractive to some, but would be very expensive and hugely disruptive to the many other partnerships we have developed. The bill would fall to local council tax payers at a time when we are successfully transforming how Bournemouth Council works and this year actually cutting our council tax for local residents.
“The real challenges we should all be concerned about are how we continue to provide adult social care and children’s services and how we pay for them, as they absorb almost 60% of our council budgets at present. Another local government reorganisation is the last thing we need and could set back by years our strategy which is delivering so well for the residents of Bournemouth.”
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