Borough could split from county council

THE Government has given its clearest indication yet that it will allow Ipswich to break away from Suffolk County Council to form a standalone local authority responsible for its own schools and social care.

By Graham Dines

THE Government has given its clearest indication yet that it will allow Ipswich to break away from Suffolk County Council to form a standalone local authority responsible for its own schools and social care.

In a speech to the Local Government Association's annual conference, Communities and Local Government Secretary Ruth Kelly said her autumn White Paper would include the option of unitary status to those authorities who met the criteria and who wanted it.

Her promise was welcomed immediately by the Leader of Ipswich Borough Council Liz Harsant, who was in the audience for the speech in Bournemouth. “We were all immensely heartened by Ruth Kelly's speech and her reference to holding the door open to those authorities who want unitary status suits Ipswich.


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“As a regional centre and the fastest growing urban area in the East of England, Ipswich does indeed meet the criteria and we look forward to the publication of the White Paper.”

Ms Kelly said her aims for local government was that citizens “who are informed, engaged and, wherever possible, have choice over the services they use and the way they use them.

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“Next, neighbourhoods should be able to get things done in their areas with empowered communities, able to run local community centres or facilities if they so wish and can do it well. I want to see self-confident local authorities playing a key strategic and scrutiny role with respect to public services and other activity in their area.

“And lastly, I want to see a set of government departments that realise that their job is to set clear frameworks for delivery and reporting, not to interfere and micro-manage.

“Our vision for local government is rooted in realism - the best councils are already showing what works.”

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