County councils to win new powers under Department for Communities and Local Government plans

    Ten county councils may gain control of all local government services in their area under government plans unveiled today.

    The Department for Communities and Local Government has announced it will consult on proposals from the 10 counties, alongside six others from district councils, to create new unitary authorities in areas which currently have two-tier local government. It estimated this could save over £200m a year through efficiency gains.

    Any new councils would be responsible for county council services, such as adult social care and children’s services, and district authority functions, such as housing.

    The 10 county councils considered for unitary status are: Bedfordshire, Cornwall, Cheshire, Cumbria, Durham, North Yorkshire, Northumberland, Shropshire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

    Northumberland Council faces competition from a rival bid among the county’s district authorities, who are looking to form two new authorities for the area. Cheshire Council faces a rival bid from Chester Council, which is calling for two new unitaries to be set up in Cheshire.

    Plans to restructure councils were announced in last year’s local government white paper and 26 bids were submitted by councils in January for government consideration.

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