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ECHO COMMENT: Who wouldn't want to scrap six councils?

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: November 01, 2012

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LORD Heseltine's wide-ranging report on economic growth seems to have been widely welcomed.

While national politicians disagreed on what it meant about the policies of his Tory party, business leaders were delighted.

They backed his call for a long-term strategy for growth, which he said should also remove many powers from central government and pass them down to local councils.

But it's when you get to what type of councils will be there to make those decisions that local politicians soon start to fall out.

Lord Heseltine has again raised the question of scrapping two-tier local authorities.

It would mean that instead of paying one council for services like education and social services (the county council) and another for rubbish collections and planning (borough and district councils), everything would be run by one unitary authority.

One person who would be unlikely to lose out is county council leader Mark Hawthorne, as a new version of Gloucestershire county council would remain.

But he has dismissed the call, saying local government reorganisation is the last thing we should be spending millions on at present.

Cotswold leader Lynden Stowe also opposes the plan for rural areas, saying a county-wide authority would not represent the area properly. But leaders at Cheltenham Borough are less dismissive, saying it makes sense in principle.

What nobody seems to be disputing is that in the long-run, running one council in Gloucestershire would be cheaper than running seven.

It should also be more efficient and, perish the thought, could also mean council taxpayers actually fully understand who does what to provide the services they need.

The shake-up may not be a priority for now, but it should not be dismissed. It will keep coming back on to the agenda because, for many reasons, it makes sense.

WHAT can we say about the enthusiastic staff at Gloucestershire Airport?

When vehicles on runways aren't keeping birds away from flight paths, they leap into action.

Whether they set off fireworks or bird distress calls or just dance around like lunatics, they soon take flight. Who needs new technology?

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  • Dave_t10  |  November 03 2012, 12:47AM

    Surprise, surprise the Council Turkeys are not voting for Christmas!!!! Unitary councils are a far better idea, they have been used across the boarder in Wales for almost 20 years now with no issued. Why do we have multiple councils responsible for different things? Each blaming each other for their failings. To be honest, I would probably completely scrap them all, the pay a private company to empty the bin, sweep the street and fix the street lights - it would save more about £1,000 a year too!!!!

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  • MrGarnet  |  November 02 2012, 11:08PM

    by CouncilwonkFriday, November 02 2012, 10:08AM "Mr Garnet, since 2010, the County Council has cut one in three workers." Don't get me wrong the ones that work hard bin men etc are well respected in my book. The country has been let down and mismanaged by all political parties and the results are coming home to us all. Just look at Comet for example whilst Amazon and their ilk are profiting!? The tax take is disappearing and what is being done?............nothing the MP's are ok though loverly jubberly!

  • Bonkim2003  |  November 02 2012, 10:37AM

    NamChelt - but they act like them, and cost quite too much for the second rate service they provide. Gone are the days when British Municipalities set standards in civic administration, and infrastructure works, and municipal engineering - the infrastructure created by their Victorian counterparts still the backbone of what we have. The tick-box culture existing today is of recent origin and all good practice down the drain.

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  • Councilwonk  |  November 02 2012, 10:08AM

    Mr Garnet, since 2010, the County Council has cut one in three workers.

  • Ysedra  |  November 02 2012, 8:37AM

    Has TiG ever thought about fixing this 'can only read page 1 of the News section' bug, or are they happy for it to keep re-occurring?

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  • robertirving  |  November 02 2012, 8:11AM

    Under the current system in Gloucs, having a single unitary authority with cabinet government, where all members are from the ruling party, would be totally unrepresentative. It is bad enough at the moment where the tories have made very poor decisions on closing libraries and on the proposal to build an incinerator with very little accountability. Would you want that to happen on everything? I can see the argument for reducing confusion by using a single authority, but not if it means planning decisions being made in Gloucester by a distant officials rather than locally. Good democracy is liable to be expensive, a dictatorship is cheap - you only pay one salary - but would you want it?

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  • Hubert1841  |  November 01 2012, 7:14PM

    Well said, Glosyap. The private sector is not without it's own faults, but I do wish our public sector was better run. My problem is not with the rank and file, who often have to do horrendous tasks for very little remuneration, but with the way they are run, both at senior and middle management levels by abacus counting, uncaring swine; who most likely are only in it for what they can get out of it. Thatcher must be proud of her spawn. Willkommen zu Ein un Zwanzig Century, what? Harrumph!

  • MrGarnet  |  November 01 2012, 6:42PM

    The norberts running the country can CUT one in five soldiers protecting us but not one in five council workers (not productive salt of the earth ones like bin men etc) but the duplication of tasks??.

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  • GlosYap2  |  November 01 2012, 5:53PM

    Love Hubert's comment - i feel he was referring to the "private sector" as being the real world. Unfortunately when the "real world" interferes in the duties of public servents you get profit-hungry and care blind services which end up with customers being beaten and their heads down the loo - metaphorically and literally e.g. See Winterbourne hospital....

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  • Hubert1841  |  November 01 2012, 3:03PM

    Civil service, public service; the point is applicable to either, though I appreciate the NHS and teachers are not classed as civil servants. Other Public Servants There are a wide variety of other public bodies who do not generally employ civil servants (other than on loan from government departments). *The only exceptions (as noted above) are the HSE and ACAS which have not been classified as Government departments but whose employees are nevertheless regarded as civil servants. The main categories are:- Non-Departmental Public Bodies (NDPBs), often known as Quangos. The National Health Service The Armed Forces Note:- the above, together with the Civil Service and those reporting to Parliament and the Monarch, are generally referred to as "Central Government". Public Corporations Local Authorities quoted from http://tinyurl.com/3k3dab

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