Suffolk

Council merger between Babergh and Mid Suffolk backed

A new district council could be created by the merger of two existing councils in Suffolk, a report has said.

Up to £1.3m a year could be saved by merging Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils without affecting services, the report's authors claimed.

It was prepared by officers from both authorities and the proposals will be debated and voted on by councillors over the next few weeks.

Residents will have the final say in the form of a referendum next year.

The new district council - which could be established in 2012 - would cover most of south and central Suffolk.

Services better protected

A second option looks at keeping the two councils separate but integrating many of their functions, with estimated savings of £900.000 per year by 2013/2014.

Councillor Nick Ridley, chairman of Babergh's strategy committee, said: "There are clear financial advantages to both options, but in the light of the massive public spending cuts we are both facing, the creation of a single council looks particularly attractive.

"It is a way of keeping down costs whilst at the same time offering more chance that key services will be better protected".

Councillor Tim Passmore, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council, said: "I'm very pleased that the business case is unequivocal in its recommendation for full constitutional merger of the two councils.

"This represents the best chance to preserve important discretionary services whilst also achieving necessary savings of at least £1.3m each year."

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