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Super council move gathers pace
MOVES to scrap the current council system in Bucks and replace it with a single body to save millions of pounds are gathering pace.
Following the recent decision at Wycombe District Council to create a task force to investigate a merger or super council, Aylesbury Vale District Council has also now agreed to do so.
The news comes shortly after Bucks County Council Leader Martin Tett publicly backed the idea, while Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve, a Cabinet Minister, also told the Free Press this summer the Government would welcome such a move if it could save vital cash.
The idea has been floated for many years with a report in 2006 estimating savings of £35m a year but opponents have consistently said the initial costs are too high.
Cllr Peter Cooper, an Independent at AVDC, proposed the unitary authority investigation, and was backed in a vote at the finance and services scrutiny committee. He was supported by Liberal Democrat and Labour members but not the controlling Conservative group.
Cllr Cooper said: "There is a great deal of support from voters and the business community in Buckinghamshire for our local government structure to be streamlined and made more relevant to the needs of local people.
"The five council, two tier structure is heading for a serious financial crisis as government grants are cut.
"Our front line services are at risk and we are in danger of spending a disproportionate amount of available funds on overheads.
"55 English councils (and all of Wales) have now become unitary and those areas are now benefiting from the resulting savings and clarity of single point service delivery.
"I call on the members and leaders of all Bucks authorities to cooperate with Wycombe and AVDC on progressing this issue."
The AVDC committee has suggested working with counterparts in Wycombe to research the idea more thoroughly and is seeking a report for its next meeting.
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