Merging Shropshire's councils could save £20 million a year, says Daniel Kawczynski MP
Merging Shropshire's two councils could save as much as £20 million a year according to a Shropshire MP in a letter to a senior government minister.
Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski has written to Sajid Javid, secretary of state for communities and local government, saying he believes Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council should be combined.
Mr Kawczynski wants to see the two authorities scrapped and replaced, saying in his letter the "disjointed approach" to local government has led to two CCGs that are "finding it hard to work together for the benefit of all constituents in the county."
The Shrewsbury & Atcham MP has called for Mr Javid to launch a cost benefit analysis of the current set up.
Today, Mr Kawczynski said his ideal solution would be one council and one CCG for the whole county to compliment the county's one hospital trust.
He said: "I think it is critical because if you look at many counties around England they have a very different model to our own.
"They have one council, one trust and one CCG and then when they go into lobby Government they go in together with all cross party MPs to campaign for those vital services.
"We have in Shropshire this very concerning thing where we are cut up in two. We are all Salopians and we are one county and we should be proud of being Salopians. We are all fighting for our county.
"I have realised for a long time that Shropshire can only fire on all cylinders if we are constructed and lobby Government along the lines of many other counties. I see this day in day out. Everybody goes in together on behalf of their county – Norfolk, Somerset, Devon – yet in our case because the county is split in two it is very much a disjointed approach.
"The one time all MPs worked collectively together was over direct train services and it showed at the time the power of going in collectively when we have all of Shropshire calling for a particular service or investment.
"At the moment, we have an east and west Berlin scenario. In many cases, we are duplicating services and cutting up one county. That is a very difficult situation.
"The latest situation over the Future Fit programme has reinforced something I have felt for a long time.
"Owen Paterson is completely in agreement with me and I am will now be lobbying Philip Dunne. I think we can do it.
"If we get Shropshire MPs to lobby and say lets undertake an independent review of what savings can be made I think the figure will be between 10 and 20 million pounds per annum.
"I think that is more important than keeping things as they are."
Mr Kawczynski's proposals have been branded an "absolute disgrace" by Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies.
The council leader said such a move would be "akin to dictatorship".
Mr Kawczynski said: "Shaun Davies has a very different vision for Shropshire.
"We are putting forward very different models and I think it is imperative people evaluate the differences.
"At the end of the day, when budgets are very tight, we have a duty and responsibility to spend taxpayers' money in the most cost effective way.
"I would argue putting more money into front line services is a better way of investing tax payers' money than the current set-up."
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