Let people decide on councils’ merger

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Proposals which could create a new, combined local authority for Lancashire that could see the county council scrapped along with Hyndburn, Pendle, Burnley, Ribble Valley, Chorley and Rossendale Councils are deeply worrying and must be opposed.

With Greater Manchester now promised sweeping new powers and an elected mayor by 2017, some authorities don’t want to feel left out. I believe that power should be devolved away from Westminster and down to its lowest level. I fear that by scrapping existing councils, power will be taken away from local voters and concentrated into the hands of council leaders and chief executives. Councils of course can and should work together as independent authorities in order to benefit from economies of scale (negotiating joint refuse contracts, for example) but a full merger will not benefit anyone local. If the likes of Jack Straw et al are so confident that we should merge our existing councils, perhaps we should put it to a referendum and let the people decide.

Paul Nuttall