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New Council Call for Northampton

November 27, 2006 10:00 PM
Northampton Guildhall

"We need a single council for Northampton" said Andrew

Liberal Democrat Councillors last night backed an all-party move for a single 'unitary' council for Northampton. The proposal was in response to the Government's White Paper on Local Government and also following moves by the Conservative controlled County Council to campaign for a single council for the whole county.

"Northampton deserves its own council" said Lib Dem Parliamentary spokesperson and Borough Councillor Andrew Simpson. "But any campaign for a single-council needs to demonstrate public support as the previous two attempts by the Council failed."

The idea is that rather than the current two-tier system with the Borough Council responsible for some services and the County Council others - there would be one new Council that would take responsibility for all services across the town. Calls by the Labour group for an elected Mayor were rejected by the Lib Dems as 'concerntrating power too much into the hands of individuals'. Only 12 Councils have chosen to have an elected Mayor, 17 rejected the idea. Of those who have some are now trying to go back to a more representative system.

Andrew Simpson criticised the Labour Group for being inconsistent in their support for local Government. "Their party has undermined local Government through forcing councils to adapt models of working that don't reflect local needs, they have also taken power away from Councils through policies such as 'best value' and locally Labour supported the creation of a Development Corporation that took planning decisions away from the elected Council.Now the Labour Government have put impossible restrictions on the timescale for considering and size of any new unitary councils"

The Council agreed to support a single-council for the town in the long term but in the short term to work within the Governments new White paper proposals to secure closer working with other Councils.