Borough responds to County proposal

In September the Government will publish a white paper on regional devolution and local recovery.

Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, Simon Clarke MP, stated earlier this month that this would include the government’s transformative plan “…with many more elected mayors and more unitary councils”. The plans have been described as possibly the biggest local government shake-up since 1974.

Surrey County Council has written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, Robert Jenrick MP, proposing a single Surrey wide council serving 1.2million people.

In a joint letter this week, the Surrey boroughs and districts joined together to highlight their concerns to the Secretary of State about the county council’s ambition. They have requested that government ministers keep an open mind on emerging proposals to change how local government works in the county. Borough and district leaders say that only by hearing all opinions can the wellbeing of residents be safeguarded.

The councillors, representing every part of Surrey, called upon Robert Jenrick to give them a fair hearing if the county council is asked to submit a more detailed proposal.

Councillor Eber Kington, Chairman Strategy & Resources Committee said “The county council bid to take on responsibility for all services for Surrey’s 1.2 million residents, means that as Epsom and Ewell local councillors we need to work urgently with other Surrey District and Borough councillors to a set out the case for the retention of local democracy and locally accountable decision making.

“It is difficult to understand why the Government is in such a rush to re-organise local government at time when all councils are focusing on their key role in supporting the COVID-19 recovery.

“Our focus will be on ensuring that any changes to local government in Surrey continue to provide for local democratic accountability, decision making at the lowest level commensurate with effective delivery, efficient and cost effective service delivery, and local councils with a clear understanding of their people and place”.

To download and read the Letter from Boroughs and Districts to Robert Jenrick MP – Click Here

5 thoughts on “Borough responds to County proposal”

  1. This is an absolutely ridiculous idea. Having a local borough council means decisions can be made by councillors that really understand the local area and local challenges and issues. I completely agree that some areas of local government need a county approach e. g schools and highways but definitely not everything.
    Right now council and government should be focusing on dealing with the current pandemic and supporting residents and local businesses cope and eventually flourish. This is not the time for bureaucratic proposals to make major changes to local government. Let the councillors that know their boroughs lead the way in this unique period

  2. I feel this is a terrible idea. Right now we have locally elected people running our borough and living in our borough. The Residents Associations independent councillors are respected and accountable to us the electorate without having the agenda of mainstream party politics. I am completely against this plan.

  3. I absolutely echo the comments made by Susie Hancox – this represents a dismantling of local democracy led by party politicos, and this policy needs to be nipped in the bud!

  4. As residents of Epsom and Ewell we value very highly the local Borough Council which focuses on local services and issues. Our Borough Councillors are all members of our community, we see them around, know where they live, and know that they are fully in tune with what makes the Borough tick. They are independent from the party political bickering we see at County level, and always put the best interests of our residents first. We are able to have lively debates with our councillors about what is best for the Borough and as a result the services the Borough provide are well tailored to our needs and circumstances.

    From the Council Tax statements we receive it is apparent that despite receiving only a small proportion of the tax funds, the services provided by the Borough Council are disproportionately comprehensive and effective. Yes, there are times when the economies of scale offered by the County administration are effective, but there is also a place for the local knowledge, insight and accountability that the Borough Council provides.

    Removing this essential structure would be catastrophically detrimental to the life and wellbeing of Epsom and Ewell residents and I would categorically oppose it

  5. Totally opposed to this idea. Surrey is a large county and whilst I appreciate that a larger organisation may be able to negotiate for better rates for services, it is a ‘one-size fits all’ approach to serving the community. There are positive benefits of having local councillors, living and working in the areas they represent, in particular those of us lucky enough to have representatives who, as members of a residents association, do not have to follow party political lines.

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