§ The Minister for Local and Regional Government (Mr. Nick Raynsford)
In August we sent a leaflet to every household in the north-east entitled "An Elected Assembly for the North East—Have Your Say". The leaflet provided information about the regional assembly and local government referendums to be held on 4 November, including details of the options for local government reorganisation.
An error has been discovered in the information provided about the cost of local government reorganisation in County Durham. The cost figure for option A—one single tier local authority for the county of Durham—was correctly shown. However, the upfront cost of implementing "option B"—that is, of restructuring local government to create three unitary authorities to take over the functions currently exercised by the existing county and district councils—was stated as £38 million. It should have been £49 million.
We will shortly be writing to all households in County Durham correcting this error. The Government will meet the costs of implementing either option, as stated in the leaflet.