THE blueprint for a single unitary council which would provide a "fresh start" for Bucks and save £18m a year has been released.

Bucks County Council has published its business case to abolish the five councils representing residents in the county, and replace it with a single authority - Buckinghamshire Council.

The case, published on Wednesday, says the new council would save £18m a year and "put power in the hands of local residents" by providing 19 community hubs where residents can access their key services.

Leader of Bucks County Council, Martin Tett, said: “The bureaucratic way local government is currently set up in Buckinghamshire is no longer fit for purpose or affordable.

"A new council would be a fresh start for Buckinghamshire, designed from the bottom up to provide better, more locally-focused services.

"I’m particularly proud of our proposals to bring the council closer to local communities. This includes giving residents a much larger role in deciding the services they want where they live and creating 19 community hubs throughout Bucks where people can access a wide range of public services on their doorsteps.

"There just isn’t the money to pay for all the services residents want and if we don’t act now things will only get worse - in 2010 Bucks’ county and district councils received £88m in government funding, but by 2020 this will be zero.

“We now have the opportunity to save tens of millions of pounds which could be invested in protecting and improving frontline services."

Slough Observer:

The business case claims that this is the best option for the county, having analysed other possibilities including a two or three unitary council model, and three unitary authorities and a combined authority.

The single model would save the most money, but the council's own analysis shows that this model is the worst option in terms of performance, democratic leadership and accountability, and economic growth.

Subject to approval by cabinet and full council, the business case will be submitted to government this autumn. If given the green light, the old councils could be abolished and the new Buckinghamshire Council created by 2019.

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