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Stronger Somerset proposal approved at SWT Full Council

11 September 2020 : Council news

Somerset West and Taunton Council has given its overwhelming support to the Stronger Somerset Business Case which proposes two new unitary Councils and a combined authority. 
The Full Council met on Thursday, 10 September, to debate the proposal which was approved by 46 votes in favour, with three against and one abstention, following its endorsement by the Scrutiny Committee earlier this week.
Members resolved:
1. To approve the Stronger Somerset Business Case for the reform of local government including the creation of two unitary Councils within Somerset.

2. To delegate authority to the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive, in consultation with the other Somerset District Leaders and Chief Executives, to make minor amendments to the Business Case as necessary and/or appropriate, ahead of its submission to the Secretary of State.

3. To support the continuing consultation with local stakeholders, above and beyond any programme of consultation that may be required by the Government in due course.

4. To note that in the best interests of the communities and residents of Somerset West and Taunton, the Council will continue to work with colleagues across all tiers of local government and public service in Somerset.

Leader of SWT, Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, said: “This is a significant moment for our recently formed Council and for local government in Somerset.
“While being clear that SWT is delivering for our communities, supporting our most vulnerable, helping businesses, and providing effective services, we must recognise that change is needed.
 “I believe that our proposal for a ‘Stronger Somerset’ will better serve our diverse communities than the proposed single unitary authority.
“Two new councils really would mean a Stronger Somerset where we can be closer to our residents and more responsive to local needs focusing on sustainable services, a stronger economy and improved quality of life.”
The proposals set out a significant change in the way that local government would work, to create a much more collaborative approach to service provision driving improvements in Somerset, focussed on the needs of residents, communities and businesses.
Full details of the outline business case can be found here.