Council reforms will have to wait

The brakes have been put on a major reorganisation of local government in Lincolnshire – with the councils told to concentrate on helping communities recover from the effects of coronavirus.

District councils, including South Holland, welcomed the news that central government called a halt to the process of reorganising the entire structure.

“This enables district councils to put our full focus on protecting the county’s most vulnerable and keeping essential services running during the pandemic.

“We have been very consistent and clear in our message: now is not the right time for local government reorganisation due to COVID and it’s reassuring that the government has shown its support for our view.

“The district councils in Lincolnshire have a long history of successfully working together for the good our our communities. This will continue and, where appropriate, we will seek out new ways of collaborating to deliver services at a local level as we continue to work tirelessly for the good of our residents.

“They are our number one priority and will remain so as we lead the fight against the pandemic.

“We will continue to deliver the county’s recovery while also awaiting the Government’s white paper on devolution. It is essential that if additional powers and funding are being transferred from Central Government in the future, then we must ensure the very best deal for our residents.” said a joint statement from all seven district councils.

The councils involved were South Holland, City of Lincoln, East Lindsey, Boston Borough, North Kesteven, South Kesteven and West Lindsey.

The county council had contacted central government in the middle of the initial outbreak of the pandemic and asked for a reorganisation.

All the district councils had been adamant that the timing was not right to consider a massive overhaul of the working of local government.

“Given the pressure councils face this winter with the pandemic…it would not be right at this time for them to further progress or further ideas for reform,” the district authorities were told by the central government.

“The district councils are united and agree that reform is needed, but it needs to deliver a solution that will work in the long term,” added the group statement.

In July, Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill voiced his support for a new ‘Greater Lincolnshire’ authority to replace both Lincolnshire County Council and the district councils such as South Holland.

But South Holland District Council leader Lord Gary Porter raised concerns.

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