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Surrey prepares unitary proposal


07 August 2020

Surrey County Council is to prepare a business case for a unitary model of governance. 

Surrey says the two-tier model of local government in the county is “complicated, fragmented and inefficient”. In a letter to communities and local government secretary Robert Jenrick, council leader Tim Oliver says: “We could do so much more, better and at less cost, if we transform the current system of local government in Surrey (12 sovereign local authorities).” 

Prior to Covid-19, Surrey’s local authorities needed to save at least £137m over the next four years, he says. “Moving to a county unitary authority will provide immediate savings of £36m per year and unlock the ability to transform our services further, enabling a further £100m savings per year, in return for a one-off cost of £52.7m.”

The county council is proposing to present a draft business case for a unitary structure to its cabinet and council in September. 

“I have discussed my ambitions with the Surrey MPs who agree that change is needed and can see the benefits of a unitary structure in Surrey,” says Oliver. “I will work with district and borough council colleagues... to develop our plans.” 

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