Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Unitary bid confusion

First the BBC reported that Norwich had been granted unitary status. Then Charles Clarke leaps in with both feet to congratulate them, though nobody can work out what for. Norwich City Council put out statements saying they had achieved unitary, which all the media duly follow.

Then the Department for Communities issues their press release in which it becomes clear that 9 councils became unitary today ... but Norwich isn't amongst them. The press release says that the government is not convinced by the affordability case (whic was exactly why we opposed it - more tax, services suffer and jobs are cut). So it seemed that Norwich hadn't got unitary. The press feel cheated, City Hall stands accused of spinning and there are red faces all around.

We read on to find out that this will now be referred to the Boundary Commission - City Hall's bid fails, but the government fall back on the bid that was ruled out of order a few months back. Why? Why did the bid that Ruth Kelly dumped months ago suddenly end up back on the table? Clear signs of an emotional political decisions being taken rather than the cold sober treasury judgement we were promised. This bid that will now be taken forward wasn't compliant just weeks ago and now it is. Look out Broadland and South Norfolk - the government confirms that the only way they can make their unitary folly work is by engaging in a land grab AND a power grab.

So, City Hall chiefs are now under fire for spinning the decision, the media have bene made to look fools by City Hall and the good people of South Norfolk and Broadland had better hold onto their wallets. This has costs Norwich £290,000 and it's gonna get a lot more expensive before its over.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a broadland resident and a lifelong Labour voter I will vote Conservative if Thorpe St. Andrew is taken into Norwich to punish the idiots who put this forward.

HOW DARE THEY? WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE IN NORWICH WHO THINK THEY SHOULD SAY WHAT WE DO IN BROADLAND???

Malbrook Road said...

I'm not confused. Labour failed and it cost us £300k for the pleasure of seeing them humiliated.

Anonymous said...

I'm not confused either - the answer is no and labour are pretending otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Broadland Council should launch a Unitary bid on expanded boundaries and take in Norwich. They are a far better council on so many fronts and might even teach the Greens a bit about effective recycling!

On a more serious point didn't the DCLG letter to Norwich City Council question 'the reliability of the financial data' So £300,000 spent and the figures don't add up! At least the council spin doctors are doing an almost reasonable job.

Jessica and i are glad we leave in Broadland.

Anonymous said...

A unitary Broadland-City eh? Not a bad idea, but totally defeats the point of Unitary. If that was the case then the Tories would be in majority control and the City would again be run by the rural Tory landowning clique. For me, Unitary is about the city and only the city. If we sell out and take in chunks of rural Norfolk - i.e. NOT Helles. TSA. Sprowston et al - then I will tear up my Labour membership card.

Anonymous said...

Just answered the question many people in Broadland have been asking, are Labour doing this for power!

Anonymous said...

Antony I I'm a Conservative n Norwich and back this proposal. I think alternative ways of working is needed if this bid fails Norwich will be the only city of its size without a voice. Both Exeter and Ipswich were granted unitary status yesterday, both far smaller urban areas. The simple fact is a district council is not the suitable forum for a major regional city. One of the reasons Broadlands council tax is low is they use many facilities in Norwich but don't contribute being underbounded is itself a problem when collecting tax revenue. An additional bonus is we would have a small chance of running this FINE city on extended boundaries something we will probably not manage in the next 50 years otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Sign the 10 Downing Street e-petition to keep Norwich within existing boundaries:
http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Norwich-unitary/