Howarth calls for unitary authority for Cambridge

November 24, 2005 3:06 PM

In a front-bench speech at a Westminster Hall debate, David Howarth called for a unitary authority for Cambridge to replace the current County and City Council within the City.

Commenting on this, David said:

"People often hold the City Council responsible for County Council functions, especially on roads and transport, and the division often leads to confusion and failure to take responsibility.

"I said that same thing in my last speech as a city councillor and I still think the same way.

"I'm not saying that all areas should have single-tier systems. In sparsely populated rural areas, the advantages of two-tier may outweigh its disadvantages. But that is not the case in Cambridge."

Commenting on the report in Tuesday's Daily Telegraph that the Government is considering introducing unitary authorities nationwide, David said:

"If this report is correct, the Government is in danger of repeating some of the mistakes of the Banham/Grant Commission. The idea that new authorities should only be formed out of whole existing districts and that county boundaries should not be crossed will mean that it is unlikely that there will ever be agreement about a unitary structure in our area.

"The idea of a combined Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire authority was simply too big for many people to accept and it was to much of a threat to the interests of residents in the city. The Government should allow much more flexibility and listen to proposals from across the community, not just from existing local councils."

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