Draft order to establish unitary governments in Northamptonshire heard in Commons

Only one MP from our county turned up to speak about the matter

Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 11:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th February 2020, 11:30 am
The order to set up two unitary authorities in Northamptonshire was heard in Commons yesterday.

The draft order to dissolve Northampton's district council and replace them with two unitary authorities was passed in Parliament yesterday (February 10).

Parliamentary under-secretary Luke Hall claimed the move was " a fresh start" for Northamptonshire after the county council went effectively bankrupt in 2018.

At the hearing yesterday, only one of Northamptonshire's seven MPs - Andrew Lewer for Northampton South - turned up to speak on the matter, where he said it was "unfortunate that the ‚Äčorder was not introduced" before the general election.

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He said: "At least there was an opportunity to debate the proposal in the course of the election.

"It received the endorsement of the seven Conservative MPs who at the general election stood on a platform of achieving this change."

It comes ahead of the order being heard in the House of Lords today (February 11).

The move to create the unitary governments is a direct result of a review set up after Northamptonshire County Council's financial crash in 2018.

It comes after all seven councils in our county voted in August 2018 to effectively abolish themselves in favour of creating two unitary authorities.

It would sort the districts into "North Northamptonshire" - made up of Corby, East Northants, Kettering and Wellingborough - and "West Northamptonshire" - made up of Northampton, Daventry and South Northamptonshire.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Local Government Luke Hall said in the Commons yesterday: "The new unitary councils will create a new start for local government across Northamptonshire.

"Reorganisation provides an excellent opportunity to ensure that local people receive the high-quality services that they deserve, providing a fresh start and restoring faith in local government in Northamptonshire."

Meanwhile, Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton Jim McMahon stood to say the move "will not solve" the county's problems. He said: "The Government will need to convince residents of the two new unitary authorities, that there is enough money in the system to fund services. What is the point of reorganisation if it does not deal with the crisis that led to it in the first place?"

The order will be heard in the House of Lords later today.