Abstracts: April 22nd, 2004

By Michael ChisholmReferenda will be held later in the year in three northern regions of England about the establishment of elected regional assemblies. If these are established, the areas with two-tier local government would be converted to unitary structures. The Government asserts that this would be necessary because the retention of the two tiers would be the retention of one tier too many, but offers no evidence to back up this assertion.

This assertion has been tested by an analysis of the Audit Commission’s Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA) ratings for the single tier and county councils, which shows that the counties have achieved better assessments than the other principal authorities. Transition costs would be at least 110 pounds per resident in the two-tier areas if there were to be three unitary councils for each county area, and there is no reasonable prospect that there would in fact be on-going savings except with unitary counties.

Public Money & Management. Volume 24: Issue 2. ISSN: 0954-0962.