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Survey launched into local government reorganisation plans

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COPELAND Council has launched a survey to ask residents for their views on potential changes to the structure of local government.

The council, and all local authorities in Cumbria, have been invited to submit their proposals for local reorganisation to the Government by December 9. 

The Government’s preferred model is for unitary authorities; one council that carries out all the services for an area; thereby replacing the current two-tier structure in Cumbria of a county council and six districts, each with their own responsibilities and services.

Copeland Council’s initial proposal, submitted in early November, outlines its preference for two unitary councils for Cumbria – with the creation of an Elected Mayor of Cumbria position - and specifies that Copeland and Allerdale should not be split in this two-unitary structure.

The community’s views are now being sought to help inform the council’s final submission.

Mike Starkie, Mayor of Copeland, said: “The Government is actively driving its devolution agenda, and the right platform and structure needs to be created in Cumbria to allow the area to prosper, unlock growth, and to facilitate the levelling up agenda in the near future.

“Without change, Cumbria is in danger of being left behind.

“There is consensus across most councils that the status quo cannot continue; it is not financially sustainable, does not provide value for money and is confusing for residents.

“Alternatives to Copeland’s proposal - with different variations of the unitary model - are likely to be submitted to the Government. These competing bids include having a single unitary for the whole county, or potentially splitting up Copeland and Allerdale.

"Therefore, as we develop a strong case for what we believe the new structure should look like, we are inviting the contribution of our communities on your experiences of the current model and what your priorities would be in a new structure.”

The Government will consider Copeland Council’s proposal – as well as alternatives from other councils in Cumbria - and will go out to public consultation on its preferred model in Spring 2021.

The survey and further information about the process can be accessed at https://www.copeland.gov.uk/local-government-reform-information. The deadline for responses is Wednesday, December 2.

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