DCSIMG

Coalition bid to slash council size

Review: Coun Bill Shannon has written to the Boundary Commission to ask for the number of councillors to be reduced

Review: Coun Bill Shannon has written to the Boundary Commission to ask for the number of councillors to be reduced

Opposition politicians have formed a coalition to ask for a review on the size of Preston’s council.

The Liberal Democrat and Conservative groups at the authority have written to the Boundary Commission to ask for the number of councillors to be reduced from 57 to 40.

In a letter written by Coun Bill Shannon, leader of the Liberal Democrat group, it was claimed Preston is now a much smaller authority and, as a result, urgent changes needed to be made.

Council leaders have hit back, saying with £3m worth of cuts to make over the next three years, residents need their councillors more than ever.

Opposition councillors have also asked for elections to be held every four years, like in neighbouring South Ribble, to save cash. Preston Council is currently elected in thirds.

Writing to the commission, which sets out electoral arrangements for local authorities, Coun Shannon said: “Over recent years, every department and function of the council has been subject to scrutiny and, as a result, has been reduced in size, with the sole exception of the number of councillors.”

Speaking to the Evening Post, he said: “We have to start making these changes now. This would start saving us money on councillors’ allowances, and money on holding the elections.”

Coun Ken Hudson, leader of the council’s Conservative group, said: “I think the work of the council is becoming less and less. It would probably also put some more impetus into the election if it was held every four years.”

Coun John Swindells, deputy leader of Preston Council, said: “All the extra work that will be coming in, with things like the bedroom tax, people will need their councillors.

“These savings would only come in the last year of the budget.

“We have lots bigger fish to fry with £3m of savings to find over three years. This is just looking around the edges.”

 

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