HC Deb 18 July 1994 vol 247 cc42-3W
Mr. Knapman

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what discussions he has had with the Local Government Commission on its estimates of the financial implications of the options for reorganisation of local government in Somerset, North Yorkshire and North Humberside; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Baldry

I have asked the Local Government Commission to provide the Department with a further analysis of its estimates of the costs and savings that might be expected from the options for reorganisation contained in its reports for Somerset and for North Yorkshire and North Humberside.

In the case of Somerset, we have asked the Commission how the costs and savings of the three unitary options recommended in its report might vary under alternative three unitary options that did not involve splitting Mendip.

In the case of North Yorkshire and North Humberside, the Commission's report gave estimates of costs and savings for a range of options for the whole review area north of the Humber. The Department has asked the Commission to give a breakdown of costs and savings between the North Yorkshire area, and the North Humberside area for three of the options in its report: those for eight unitary authorities, four unitary authorities, and modified two-tier.

The estimates of potential costs and savings are important considerations that will inform our decisions. In both these cases we feel that further information on how costs and savings might vary between alternative options will help all concerned to assess which option is likely to be most cost-effective. The additional information will be sent to the authorities concerned and placed in the Library of the House at the same time as it is sent to the Department. The Commission hopes that this will be within the next three to four weeks.

Mr. Straw

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what estimate he makes and what studies have been undertaken or are available to him of the transitional costs including redundancy and serverance payments of the local government review, England, where(a) all employees are transferred to new unitary authorities, (b) 95 per cent. are transferred and (c) 90 per cent. are transferred.

Mr. Gummer

[holding answer 14 July 1994]: We have not attempted to estimate costs in this way. However, each report of the Local Government Commission gives the estimated range of total transitional costs for the proposed structural options, which includes staff redundancy and retirement costs, in line with the Ernst and Young financial methodology.

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