The Future of Local Government in Somerset
What extra services could Somerset gain if it had tens of millions of pounds extra to spend?
For more than two years the Leaders and Chief Executives of all Somerset’s five local authorities have been discussing the future shape of local government in the county.
An independent report, produced for all Somerset’s councils, is published here setting out the pros, cons and possibilities of different options – ranging from the councils working closer together to the creation of a single ‘Unitary’ Authority. All the options have merit and each has the potential to save millions.
- All Councils working more closely together – a predicted saving of £10m-£32m
- Creating a single Unitary Authority – a predicted saving of £35m-47m
The Leader of Somerset County Council, Councillor David Fothergill, has underlined his view that a single, Unitary Authority for Somerset is the best way forward. It would reduce duplication and inefficiencies and see resources pooled, meaning more money for frontline services like schools, transport and climate change initiatives, housing and social care.
A single, ‘Unitary’ Authority could see:
- Five Chief Executives down to one
- A single place for people to go for all local authority services
- 300 Councillors reduced to a more manageable 125
- Shared contracts and increased buying power
- A single powerful voice to lobby government
In the coming months we will be making the case for a single authority and seeking ways to take this option forward. We believe this is the right thing to do for Somerset.