Leader of the Forest of Dean District Council welcomes a new report on local government reorganisation

Councillor Tim Gwilliam, Leader of the Forest of Dean District Council has welcomed a new report by the District Council Network (DCN) on local government reorganisation.

Councillor Gwilliam said: “Given the dual challenges of Covid-19 and Brexit, I am sure most people in the UK will look at the idea of local government reorganisation as rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic. However, Central Government is to publish its white paper on this shortly so it is important that we make the case for genuinely local democracy and the DCN does just that. 

“We in the Forest of Dean already share services through a single provider in Publica with Cotswold Dc, Cheltenham Bc and West Oxfordshire Dc. We have taken the steps those advocating a single Unitary would have us take. The only thing left to cut is true local representation and at this moment in time, that would be catastrophic to areas such as ours.

“Instead Devolution should assist District councils and partners, like Local Enterprise Partnerships, to lead strategic issues such as infrastructure, transport and inward investment across wider economic areas. Rather than automatically looking to create a giant distant and cumbersome Gloucestershire Authority, we should be spending time working with other Districts, having those local discussions with each other to see where we can work together. 

“Included in those discussions should be our county council, our town and parish councils, our MPs, our local businesses, and the whole range of non-council public services; all the while retaining their focus on delivering for communities. Devolution has to give those best placed to deliver the opportunity to do so.”

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Forest of Dean Communications Team