Unitary status battle takes new turn

BATTLES over unitary government in Suffolk took a new turn today as the county published its detailed rebuttal to the borough's bid for independence.And as the county launched its campaign against the unitary move, its stance was backed by Suffolk MP David Ruffley.

By Paul Geater

BATTLES over unitary government in Suffolk took a new turn today as the county published its detailed rebuttal to the borough's bid for independence.

And as the county launched its campaign against the unitary move, its stance was backed by Suffolk MP David Ruffley.

He has written a letter to communities secretary Ruth Kelly warning that a unitary Ipswich would be bad for the county, and the town itself.

His letter said: “Firstly, the process of reorganisation will have a serious impact on people and the quality of public services in Suffolk outside Ipswich. There is little evidence that services will improve.

“A unitary Ipswich Council will require new budget structure, the relocation and/or redeployment of staff, the redistribution of assets and property, and the review and possible renegotiation of contracts.

Most Read

“I do not believe that the consequent disruption, will lead to anything other than Suffolk's local authorities being distracted from service delivery to my constituents.

“I further believe that the creation of a unitary Ipswich Council, will lead to duplication of effort and create an unnecessary tier of bureaucracy as services and functions.

“Secondly, new unitary councils must be affordable. But I have strong reservations as to the costs associated with the proposals for a unitary Ipswich Council.”

Ipswich council leader and fellow Conservative Liz Harsant dismissed Mr Ruffley concerns: She said: “I don't think his worries are shared by everyone in his part of Suffolk and I think he is just following the county council line.

“I really don't see why he is trying to take a line on this.”

The borough is also preparing to counter the county's warnings about the cost and duplication of services if Ipswich is granted unitary status.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter