Unitary decision looming

IPSWICH is will learn tomorrow whether it will be granted home-rule with a decision on the borough's unitary status application.As part of a government initiative offering authorities the chance of unitary status, a total of 16 - including Ipswich - have been shortlisted as possibilities.

IPSWICH is will learn tomorrow whether it will be granted home-rule with a decision on the borough's unitary status application.

As part of a government initiative offering authorities the chance of unitary status, a total of 16 - including Ipswich - have been shortlisted as possibilities.

An announcement on which councils will be allowed to go it alone is likely to be made in parliament at around 9.30am tomorrow morning.

If Ipswich is granted unitary status it will mean almost all local government functions being handled by the borough council by 2009 - they are currently split between the borough council and county council.

The campaign for unitary status has been steadfastly opposed by Suffolk County Council which claims the shake-up will prove costly and isn't necessary.

However despite the critics, leader of Ipswich Borough Council, Liz Harsant, said she is confident the bid for home-rule will succeed.

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She said: “I feel confident because I believe our case is very robust - especially the financial case.

“It has been in front of so many financial experts that I can't see how anyone could now find an issue with it.

“Our campaign has been run exceedingly well both by council officers and borough councillors

“It has had cross-party support and we have consulted with everybody we could possibly consult with.

“I believe unitary status is the best thing for Ipswich because Ipswich will be run by Ipswich councillors not by people living as far away as the Norfolk border who don't understand the problems that a town such as Ipswich faces.

“It will cut waste, confusion and duplication and will generally be better for the people of Ipswich.”

Leader of Suffolk County Council, Jeremy Pembroke, said he is unsure which way the decision will go.

He said: “I believe it will probably be a political decision therefore you never know which way it is going to go.

“I think we put up a very strong case to the government as to what effect Ipswich becoming unitary will have on the rest of the county.

“My concern is that if Ipswich is successful the consequence to the rest of the county will be worrying.

“It will take two years to try to unpick everything and it will prove a large distraction from what we are doing for the benefit of the county.”

n. Do you think unitary status will be good for Ipswich?

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