Savings expected in councils overhaul

31 March 2009

01 April 2009 | Martha McKenzie-Minifie

The biggest local government shake-up in 30 years promises savings through better buying.

Forty-four district and county councils in England will from today be replaced with nine 'supersized' authorities serving more than three million residents.

The Department of Communities and Local Government said the new unitary councils would get better value for money through economies of scale.

It gave the example of Cornwall saving £1 million from renegotiating its insurance contract, while County Durham would make savings by moving to a single county-wide recycling service.

The move - which strips out a layer of local government - was calculated to save £100 million annually, after transitional costs, by cutting duplication.

Local Government Minister John Healey said in a statement the changes were not just about cutting costs but also should serve residents better.

"The acid test now will be whether these councils deliver their promises, including better services, leadership and achieving more for less," said Healey.

Almost two thirds of England was now under unitary governance.

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