I fully support the proposals put forward by all Northamptonshire councils for a sustainable future for the local governance of the county. With two new authorities of West and East Northamptonshire, we will see a fresh opportunity to get better joined-up services for residents whilst driving down the costs for the billpayer. This new unitary system must work to deliver for all residents across the region, and the proposals would work to put the people back at the centre of local government.
I look forward to seeing full details of the proposals after each of the eight councils vote, and I encourage as many local residents as possible to give their views on the new proposed unitaries. We must now get back to the most important objectives of local governance: delivering better services; ensuring that the future councils are both sustainable; and putting local people back at the heart of local governance in Northamptonshire. This is the opportunity for a clean slate along the lines of how we deliver our services, and in conversations I have had with councillors they are all proposing a residuary body to deal with the debt, as well as a bold solution to social care.
As your Member of Parliament, my priority is to ensure that all residents have access to good quality services, whilst getting local government onto a sustainable footing to ensure that we never find ourselves in this position again.
As a result of meetings with councillors from Northampton Borough, South Northants District and Northamptonshire County Councils, I have also written to the Secretary of State to highlight their concerns including around the timetabling of new elections, the number of councillors, and the prospect of a residuary body to take on the burden of debt from the current authorities, and I will continue to do all I can to represent the best interests of the residents of South Northamptonshire as we move forward.
I will add further updates once greater details of the proposals put forward to the Secretary of State are published. More information for the Unitary proposals and the timescales surrounding them can be found here.