Search

Tory leader's unitary pledge

PUBLISHED: 09:50 09 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:23 30 June 2010

Conservative leader David Cameron visited Norfolk on the third day of the general election campaign and insisted a new Tory government would scrap unitary status for Norwich.

Conservative leader David Cameron visited Norfolk on the third day of the general election campaign and insisted a new Tory government would scrap unitary status for Norwich.

Mr Cameron said his party wanted to complete the dualling of the A11, but stopped short of guaranteeing it, while he also backed the Norwich in Ninety campaign to speed up train services.

The man hoping to become Prime Minister in less than a month was in Norwich for a visit to Sprowston Community High School for the national launch plans for a National Citizen Service for young people.

But he found himself facing questions on whether his party intended to keep their promise that they would revoke the orders granting Norwich super-council status.

At the start of the year shadow local government minister Bob Neill said the Conservatives would give a manifesto pledge to overturn the plans, which would see Norwich take on a raft of responsibilities from Norfolk County Council.

Mr Cameron insisted: “It can be done. It's something which the government rushed through. We've taken necessary advice and know it can be done relatively simply on May 6.

“The evidence is that it creates additional costs and stacks up bills for the taxpayers. People would rather a freeze on council tax than this.”

When pressed on whether an incoming government might have other priorities, Mr Cameron insisted: “We made this promise not just in Norfolk but in Devon as well. It can be done relatively simply. If we win the election we will not forget about Norfolk.”

However, Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “I think he is factually wrong about how easy it is to turn it over, apart from the fact there would be no justification for doing so.

“But if he is that confident, perhaps he would like to have a word with the Conservatives at Norfolk County Council and persuade them not to waste hundreds of thousands of pounds of money, which is much needed elsewhere, on a judicial challenge.”

Mr Cameron was less committal over the dualling of the A11, after it emerged this week that a decision on the final stretch which remains single carriageway will not be made until after May 6.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Great Yarmouth Mercury. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury