Could ELDC be axed by government report?

East Lindsey District Council could be abolished under the recommendation of a government report which identified inadequacies with two-tier systems of local government.

Lord Heseltine’s review ‘No Stone Unturned in the Pursuit of Growth’ outlines a number of suggestions to improve the UK economy, including a recommendation that all two-tier local authorities outside London pursue unitary status.

The report states: “The number of different councils doing similar things remains costly and confusing - for many the range of different systems is baffling too.”

Lincolnshire currently runs a two tier system with the county council operating certain services and the district councils managing others.

Lord Heseltine believes this system is not only ineffective as a form of local government but also a hindrance to businesses which ‘prefer to deal with one local authority instead of speaking to multiple authorities’.

Business representatives in Lincolnshire, however, though supportive of many aspects of the report, have urged caution before any restructuring of government and felt there were other more important changes to be implemented first.

Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive Simon Beardlsey said: “Ministers should think carefully before committing to a restructuring of government, and focus first on the key constraints facing the real economy: the availability of growth finance, practical help for our exporters, our creaking physical infrastructure, and an education and training system that responds to business needs.”

The Greater Lincolnshire and Peterborough Federation of Small Businesses has also urged the government to ‘think carefully’ before reorganising local authorities, which it fears could fail to provide any ‘tangible’ benefits.

Both existing local authorities have explained that no ‘immediate changes’ have been approved and stressed that they will continue to work together for the benefit of local people.

ELDC’s leader Coun Doreen Stephenson said: “Whatever the future holds for local government the people ELDC serve must remain at the heart of the decisions we make and services we provide.”

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