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Speaking outside Shire Hall in Warwick last month, the MP for Warwick and Leamington has announced his opposition to the County Council’s proposals. He also believes that the leadership is looking to create a Mayor of Warwickshire – something he views as ‘bizarre’.
Following the news that Warwickshire County Council’s Conservative cabinet has this week (Tuesday 29 September) voted to send their proposal to create a single local authority for the whole of Warwickshire to the Government for approval, the MP for Warwick and Leamington has called the move “a naked power grab” and is demanding that the plans are rejected.
Yesterday (30th September), Mr Western delivered a petition to Parliament, urging the Government to halt the Council’s plans.
Mr Western was responding to the news that the Conservative-leadership at Warwickshire County Council is seeking to stage a ‘power grab’ by proposing the scrapping of local district and borough councils in favour of a single authority for the whole county.
The MP said that he is opposing the plan because the Council has not consulted residents on the changes. Instead, he argues that the plans were made in “self-interest” by the County Council leadership. Neither, he argues, was there any open consultation with District Councils which are developing their own plans.
The proposed changes are in response to the Government’s announcement to enlarge local government structures. The County Council’s plans were backed up by a report by consultancy firm PwC – paid for by the County Council.
Speaking about his campaign, Matt Western added:
“This is plainly a naked power grab, rushed through in self-interest as opposed to the public interest.
“Setting aside the lack of consultation, the plans themselves are deeply concerning. I don’t believe centralising power into one, potentially distant Council is the way forward. Likewise, the idea of a Mayor of Warwickshire is faintly ridiculous.
“The leadership of Warwickshire County Council suggest that this move will save money. However, I believe this will actually cost more than it saves in the short term.
“Just look across the country where similar plans have been implemented: Torbay Council became distant to many residents, and the shake-up cost them more than it saved and had to cut all non-essential spending as a result.
“The people of Warwickshire must be consulted on proposals that shape how decisions are made in their county before any plan is put in place. For the County Council to run roughshod over the public and vote through the ill-thought through plans to build a ’super-council’ without their consent undermines our democracy.
“I’ll be doing all I can in Parliament to stop this plan from going ahead until Warwickshire residents have their say.”
Mr Western has urged residents to sign his petition to oppose the County plans and join him in calling for full, open consultation. You can find the petition on his website: www.mattwestern.org/campaigns