Campaigners welcome committee findings

CAMPAIGNERS on both sides of Suffolk's unitary debate today welcomed the findings of a report into the financial implications of their bids.

CAMPAIGNERS on both sides of Suffolk's unitary debate today welcomed the findings of a report into the financial implications of their bids.

The Boundary Committee has published on its website the results of an analysis by its financial advisors.

Those fighting for the creation of the North Haven unitary authority said the analysis provided official confirmation that the move passed strict financial tests.

Councillor Liz Harsant, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, said it showed that North Haven's financial case was sound along all the required criteria.

The committee's financial consultants also rated the proposal as “low risk”.

Mrs Harsant said: “This is very good news indeed. Opponents have cast doubt on the strength of our financial case but this proves we are right.

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“We always knew that a unitary Suffolk would stack up financially but now we can match that it means the argument will be judged on other matters and that is where we are very strong.

“We score highly on community engagement and local identity and we believe decisions should be made locally.

“We look forward to the final recommendations in December with renewed confidence.”

In July, the Boundary Committee said its preferred option for local government in Suffolk is the creation of two new unitary councils.

A final recommendation will be given to ministers on December 31, with a final decision expected by the government in mid-February.

Suffolk County Council leader Jeremy Pembroke, who is calling for a single Suffolk unitary council including Lowestoft, also welcomed today's Boundary Committee report.

He said: “I am reassured that the financial case for a unitary Suffolk is also sound.

“I happen to believe a single unitary authority is best placed to lead Suffolk into a bright and prosperous future.”