'Northampton needs its own council': Labour to oppose Government plans for two unitary authorities in Northamptonshire

Parliamentary candidate for Northampton South Gareth Eales
Parliamentary candidate for Northampton South Gareth Eales

The Labour Party will be opposing the plan for two unitary authorities in Northamptonshire as they believe Northampton should have its own council.

The Government has finally revealed the legislation that outlines the reorganisation of local government in Northamptonshire, called a structural change order.

But Labour MPs and councillors argue having north and west Northants councils would not reflect the county and three unitaries would be more appropriate.

Andrew Gwynne MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, said: "Local government should reflect local geography and population, which is why we think Northampton, a huge historic town, should have its own unitary council.

“Despite one of the Government’s own councils effectively declaring themselves bankrupt, we have yet to see them recognise the appalling consequences of their austerity programme for people up and down the country - instead they are dismantling local democracy.”

Labour cites a review of the possible options for reorganisation by Deloitte scored the three unitary option highest, particularly in its ability to address key service challenges, opportunities or real transformation and locally accountable leadership.

Deloitte recommends that both the three and two unitary models continue to be considered as the situation in the county council develops.

Parliamentary candidate for Northampton South Gareth Eales said: “The people want our town ran in Northampton by Northampton, so I am delighted the national Labour Party are campaigning for the Government to deliver a Northampton unitary council.

"This is the only option that will preserve Northampton’s heritage and deliver a democratic and sustainable future.”

Sally Keeble, parliamentary candidate for Northampton North, added: “Northampton needs to have its own council.

"We’re a big, complex urban area and we must be able to decide our own future and plan our services to meet our needs.Northampton people said in the consultation that they wanted their own council. Labour is supporting the people’s choice.”

Leader of the Labour Group at Northampton Borough Council, Cllr Danielle Stone, said: “The Tories propose to spend several millions of pounds on this restructure which has absolutely no guarantees of success, as the new council will still be saddled with the same debt and the most vulnerable will still be unsafe.

"We need properly funded local government and a structure that reflects the population.”