Local Council Merger Proposals

Last year, a consultation was launched for Dorset residents to have a say in the future of their local councils. Almost ¾ of respondents supported the idea of merging some of Dorset’s smaller council’s together into larger ones, something which would not only help to streamline local services but would enable much-needed savings to be made financially by pooling each council’s existing resources and staff.

More discussions are due to be held this month, with the 9 Dorset councils reaching a decision in the coming months on the various proposals that have been put forward, before taking their representation to the Government, who will make a final decision on the matter this year.

Whilst the decision is not one to be taken lightly, and would bring major changes and of course challenges to the existing structure of Dorset local governance, I personally believe that it would be the right decision to merge from 9 smaller local councils into two larger ones. For my constituency of Bournemouth East, I believe that merging Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch councils into one larger conurbation is the most sensible and practical option. This would enable resources and skills to be pooled, encourage a greater sharing of expertise and experience across a wider local area, and would save much-needed funds in administration and personnel. This would free up these valuable finances for local services and schemes that are in danger of becoming untenable if savings cannot be made to continue funding them in the future.

Whilst I understand that it is a difficult decision to make, and is something that requires meticulous discussion and planning, it is an unavoidable reality that local councils are coming under increasing financial pressure. To protect vital local services, we need to think outside the box and find new ways of being cost efficient. I am therefore giving my support to these merger proposals and will be urging others to do the same as decisions are reached early this year.

As ever, if you are a Bournemouth East constituent and wish to share your views on this or any other matter, please feel free to drop me an email at tobias.ellwood.mp@parliament.uk

You can find out who is your local MP by putting your postcode in at the following web address: http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/