England & Wales

Unitary councils for Exeter and Norwich

The government has announced today that plans will proceed for new Unitary councils for Exeter and Norwich.   The Ipswich/Suffolk question will be subject to further review.  Champagne corks will be popping in Exeter and Norwich town halls, whilst the lawyers and politicians will be preparing the resistance at the County Hall in Norfolk and Devon.    What are the chances that these Unitaries will actually come into being on the proposed date of April 1st 2011.  There are two big uncertainties:  the first is whether the necessary ‘orders’ will progress through both Houses of Parliament before the General Election.    Support in the House of Commons is a lock, but the House of Lords may be opposed to the Unitaries.  The second issue is whether a new Conservative government if elected, would reverse the plans?   I think I’m right that Eric Pickles has previously said that the Conservatives would put a stop to any unitary plans.      Uncertainty can create a kind of blight in the councils effected so I hope that the position will become clear sooner rather than later.