Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government
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Prioritisation plan for unitary bids
Plans to ensure that local government re-structuring will cut council tax and deliver the maximum service improvements for local communities under sound fiscal rules have been published today by Local Government Minister Phil Woolas.
Sixteen proposals in thirteen areas across England are currently out to consultation, after initial assessment against the Government's strict criteria which require that they are affordable and will provide stronger leadership, improve public services, empower local communities and have a broad cross section of support.
No decisions have been made about which of these proposals may be implemented. But if more are assessed as meeting the criteria than are affordable under rules on the use of reserves to finance transitional costs, then the Government proposes to prioritise those proposals.
Phil Woolas said:
"Re-structuring has the potential to make a real difference to local communities and cut council tax. But if there are more proposals that meet the criteria following consultation, than can be afforded under sound fiscal rules, then we must ensure that the proposals that go forward are the most cost-effective and deliver the greatest improvement in services.
"That is why we are publishing a consultation on the means for proritising proposals today and asking stakeholders for their views."
The consultation on prioritisation will run untill 18 July. Following the consultation on the proposals which ends of 22 June, the Government intends to make decisions on which proposals will proceed to implementation.
Notes to Editors
1. If there are more proposals that meet the criteria than can be afforded the prioritisation will first catogrise the proposals into a number of broad groups reflecting the Government's judgment about the extent to which they are likely to deliver long term outcomes specified by criteria in relation to strategic leadership; neighbourhood empowerment; vaule for money; and equity in public services. The highest priority group will consist of those proposals which we judge will deliver the outcomes to the greatest extent.
2. Secondly, having grouped proposals, we would then rank proposals within each group in favour of those which yield the greatest efficiency gains for the lowest use of reserves. The basis of the ranking would be: £ savings per head of population for each £ of reserves used. This would effectively weigh the benefits of the proposal against the public expenditure implications of meeting its costs of implementation.
3. To view the consultation document please visit http://www.communities.gov.uk
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