A REPORT produced by Government veteran Lord Heseltine has praised Wiltshire’s move to a unitary status in 2009.
The reference to unitary councils forms part of Lord Heseltine’s report ‘No Stone Unturned in Pursuit of Growth’, which lists a number of recommendations on how to boost the UK economy.
Jane Scott, leader of Wiltshire Council, said: “This report is recognition that our radical and forwardthinking move to unitary has benefitted both residents and businesses alike.
“Lord Heseltine states that the council is also now in a much stronger position to support economic growth and improve the future prospects of residents and businesses.
“We know the multi million pound benefits of moving to unitary and the improvement in services this has led to but receiving national recognition is important and I hope other authorities have the courage to put their communities first and follow our lead.”
In his report Lord Heseltine said: “The transitional costs of creating the unitary Wiltshire Council were £18 million. This compares to a saving of a total of £68 million between 2009 and 2013.
“Back office costs now only comprise nine per cent of Wiltshire Council’s budget as opposed to 19 per cent for its predecessor bodies.
“The new authority has achieved procurement savings of £36 million through increased buying power and stronger market position.
“Wiltshire Council has found that customers find accessing its services considerably easier with much less confusion about who is responsible for what.
“The council is also now in a much stronger position to support economic growth and improve the future prospects of residents and businesses.”
The changes to local government in Wiltshire in 2009 abolished the four district council and replaced the county council with a unitary council with its headquarters at County Hall in Trowbridge.