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Norwich to go Unitary

PUBLISHED: 13:27 10 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:37 30 June 2010

Local Government Minister Rosie Winterton today announced the go ahead for local leaders in Norwich to run the city's local services as a unitary council.

Local Government Minister Rosie Winterton today announced the go ahead for local leaders in Norwich to run the city's local services as a unitary council.

The Government has decided that a unitary structure for Norwich would be a far more potent economic force, than the current two-tier local government, for delivering growth for the city's residents and businesses.

Economic development is the Government's highest priority today and Ministers believe that Norwich as a centre of regional economic activity needs strong decisive local leadership.

A unitary structure will put the city's leaders who know their area and people best at the heart of promoting economic growth, reducing unemployment and rebuilding the local economy.

After taking into account local views, Boundary Committee advice and other relevant information, the Government decided there was no option but to rule out a unitary authority for the whole of Norfolk as it could not succeed without commanding the support of any of Norfolk's main councils.

The proposals for Norwich will now be voted on by Parliament before they become law. If Parliament approves the proposals, the affected councils can start putting in place transitional arrangements ready for elections to the new councils in 2011.

Rosie Winterton said:

“Our highest priority is to have the best and most efficient local services for the people of Norfolk and for the area to have the strong local leadership it needs to rebuild local economies and deliver jobs as we move towards recovery.

“The city of Norwich is at the centre of regional economic activity and its economic performance is crucial for its residents and the wider area. That's why today we're putting Norwich's local leaders who know their areas best in charge of delivering all local services and at the heart of delivering economic growth. A unitary Norwich authority will work for the interests of the people who live, work and study in Norwich and they will have one body to hold to account.

“Across Norfolk we listened carefully to the views of interested councils, MPs and other stakeholders and the option of a unitary structure for the whole of Norfolk did not have sufficient support from key councils. As a result the Government had no option but to rule out a unitary authority for the whole of Norfolk as it could not succeed without local support.”

Unitary authorities have a track record of delivering better quality, value for money and accountable public services. As a unitary authority Norwich will be ideally placed to adopt a Total Place approach to local services in a time of financial constraint; delivering better joined up services that promote greater value for money, by focusing more clearly on the needs of individual users.

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