Assembly member Brian Wilson has called on the Environment Minister to end the uncertainty and announce that the reform of local government will not take place in May 2011.
Mr. Wilson MLA said: “For years staff in local government and within civil service departments have faced an uncertain future and it is time that the situation was clarified. As someone who has always expressed doubts of the benefits of the proposed reform and been criticized by successive Environment Ministers for expressing such doubts, I would welcome this conclusion.”
“It is clear that the main objectives of the original reform such as obtaining coterminosity with health, education and policing, giving significant new powers to local councils, providing incentives for better qualified councillors and improving democratic accountability have not been achieved.”
“It is also clear that the other major benefit, cutting the cost of local government will not be achieved. The PricewaterhouseCoopers report indicates that the cost of implementation will be over £100 million and possible savings over 25-years of £17 million a year. Such savings are not guaranteed. How can they be over a 25-year period? But similar efficiency savings could easily be made within existing councils without the disruption proposed by the RPA.”