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Somerset Chamber notes discussions taking place on a unitary Somerset authority

Somerset Chamber of Commerce note with interest the discussions now taking place on the pros and cons of a unitary Somerset authority. 

We understand that there is a constant need for businesses to look at ways to improve productivity and the services delivered by our councils in Somerset are under the same pressures. Clearly the discussion comes from a background of cuts to public service funding and the opportunity to make savings of up to £28m is a compelling reason to consider this further. 

We would be delighted to be involved in discussions, using our unique position as a conduit for the opinions of organisations across the region. I will be looking to get a better understanding of how this may affect businesses throughout Somerset and will utilise our relationships with other regional chambers such as Wiltshire and Cornwall who already have unitary authorities and Dorset Chamber who are going from 9 councils to 2 unitary authorities next year.  It will be interesting to get first-hand accounts of the implications on business.

We support the need for some well-informed discussions that communicate clearly the benefits and disadvantages of such any changes considered. The issues should not just be about cost savings – we also need to ensure more effective delivery that meets local priorities and it is critical that there is a strong and powerful lobbying channel for funds from government.

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