Council merger proposals clear first hurdle

PROPOSALS to merge the administrations of Mid Suffolk and Babergh are to press ahead after receiving the unanimous backing of one set of councillors.

PROPOSALS to merge the administrations of Mid Suffolk and Babergh are to press ahead after receiving the unanimous backing of one set of councillors.

Members of Mid Suffolk's executive voted unanimously to back the proposal to work towards a joint organisation running district services all the way from Shotley and Sudbury to the Norfolk border.

Council leader Tim Passmore said: “It is still quite early days and it is only one option to be pursued if Local Government Review does not recommend a wholesale change.

“But councillors from all the parties here feel that something does need to be done and there was unanimous support for this merger to be investigated further.


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“There is no doubt that whoever wins the general election later this year, local councils will have to seek ways of cutting costs and this seems to be a sensible option.

“The two districts are quite similar with a large number of rural communities as well as a handful of larger towns - the mix looks good.”

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But Mr Passmore insisted the merger would not produce an inward-looking organisation.

He said: “We are also looking at working with Ipswich and St Edmundsbury councils as well as Babergh on the revenue and benefits service - there will be a great deal more co-operation across all boundaries in the future.”

And he would not rule out a deeper merger in the long-term if new laws were passed allowing councils to consider a political merger.

He added: “A political merger would be the logical conclusion if joining the administrative side works well - but that is still some years down the line.”

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