Politics

Politics

First signs of spring on its way at Haverholme Park.

The half-term holidays may have been heralded with a cold snap and some snow showers, but things certainly improved to the extent that you felt a little warmth in the sun to suggest a hint of spring and the first blooms of snowdrops and crocuses emerged among the grass.

Politics
Lincolnshire County Council offices in Lincoln. Photo: Rob Foulkes EMN-161219-160126001

Lincolnshire County Councillors agree to public consultation on unitary authority

County councillors have today (Friday) voted in favour of seeking the views of the residents of Lincolnshire on the principle of moving to a unitary system of local government in Lincolnshire - but they have not yet revealed what form the consultation will take.

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Council tax increase

Residents face 4 per cent hike in County Council share of tax bills

Lincolnshire county coucillors today (Friday) agreed to a council tax increase of £44.59 per year for owners of a band D proprerty.

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Coun Marion Brighton - Leader of NKDC. EMN-170224-103050001

North Kesteven District Council’s increase to Council Tax bill lowest in the county

North Kesteven District Council is to up its share of the Council Tax charged for delivery its local services by less than ten pence per week for most people from April.

Politics
Parish council election news.

Briefing sessions for would-be county councillors in North Kesteven ahead of elections

Candidates looking to stand in the Lincolnshire County Council election in the North Kesteven area, and their agents, are invited to attend a briefing evening next month.

Politics
Lincolnshire County Council news.

IN TATTERS - ‘Super council’ plans torn to shreds by referendum blow

Leading political figures in Lincolnshire have found themselves at loggerheads over the latest bid to form a ‘super council’.

Lincolnshire County Council had hoped to get a mandate for a unitary authority in a public referendum on May 4.

Supporters - led by county council leader Coun Martin Hill - claim a single tier of local government would save £150 million over the next five years - or £882,000 a week - see council tax bills slashed and deliver improved services.

The referendum would have been held alongside the county council elections, administered by Lincolnshire’s seven district councils.

But the county council was forced into an embarrassing climb down after the district councils took legal advice. Plans for a separate ‘advisory poll’ suffered a similar fate.

A statement issued by the City of Lincoln Council said legal advice received by the district authorities states that any attempt by the county council to combine their elections with a referendum would be ‘unlawful’, with the plans being ‘contrary to the Election Rules and fraught with danger of litigation’.

This means, in effect, the referendum would need to be held completely separately or on a different day, incurring costs to taxpayers of about 
£1 million.

Coun Marion Brighton, leader of North Kesteven District Council, said: “In order to have a fully-informed, mature and thorough debate I think it best for this to be delayed until after the county council’s May elections so that people can consider the detail, the full facts and suggested models for moving forwards. I am sure that all parties will welcome a commitment to work together for a consultation in the autumn.

“There are significant issues surrounding the legality, the cost of over 
£1 million, and suitability of a referendum. The legal advice is very clear – our commitment to deliver a safe and effective county council election would have been compromised if the poll had gone ahead in the way that had been proposed.

“To rush such an important decision without giving people chance to gather the facts and make an informed decision would have been irrational, unfair to the public and presumptive.

“If we are to reach a consensus for the good of Lincolnshire, the options, benefits and consequences need to be presented in a proper manner for the public to consider and that will take longer than the nine or so weeks Coun Hill had proposed. They need to know what they are voting on.

“In the meantime, we will continue to pursue our aims and ambitions for developing a strong and vibrant district, where we are closest to the people.”

Coun Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “I and my district colleagues are in favour of a collective debate on the future of local government in Lincolnshire, but to hold a referendum at such an early stage in discussions is ludicrous, especially at such massive cost.”

He also described the notion of a ‘remote unitary mega council’ as ‘ridiculous’ as the range of areas in the county have ‘significantly differing challenges and needs’.

Faced with a £1 million-plus bill for a separate poll, Coun Hill immediately rounded on the district councils and condemned their action as ‘deeply disappointing’.

He said: “The idea was to keep administrative costs to a minimum - and to encourage a high turn out - by holding the two things together.

“Unfortunately, it won’t now be possible which is deeply disappointing.

“For various reasons, some of the district councils are not prepared to co-operate.

“Although I personally don’t agree with their legal and other objections, the county council can’t require them to help with holding a poll.”

A defiant Coun Hill stressed the county council would now explore other ways of securing residents’ backing for a single authority.

Those options could include a postal ballot or a website vote but cynics have thrown doubt on whether the response would be enough to support a ‘super council’ plan.

Ironically, the district council’s actions come just weeks after the county council vetoed a separate proposal for a unitary authority which - supported by the Government - would have attracted millions of pounds of Whitehall investment.

The vast majority of district councils were in favour but county councillors voted against - because the new council would have been controlled by a mayor.

The new proposals would not involve a mayor but it is uncertain what level of support - financial or otherwise - it would have received from the Government.

The new super council would have led to the seven district councils being abolished, along with the county council, replaced by the new body and more powers given to town and parish councils.

The matter will be discussed at a full meeting of the county council on Friday.

Politics
Sleaford and North Hykeham MP Dr Caroline Johnson (back left) with MP for Newark Robert Jenrick (back right), MP for Grantham and Stamford Nick Boles (front) and Prime Minister Theresa May. EMN-170222-164220001

Sleaford MP takes fight to reinstate overnight A&E services at Grantham to Prime Minister

Sleaford and North Hykeham MP, Dr Caroline took the campaign to reverse the current overnight closure of Grantham Hospital’s A&E department to the Prime Minister’s door today (Wednesday).

Politics
The planning application was discussed at a planning committee meeting last Monday (February 13)

Potterhanworth scheme for nine homes rejected as too big for village

Permission to be able to build nine homes on land on the southern fringe of a village near Sleaford has been denied by district council planners who claim the community is already oversubscribed for new development.

News
Lincolnshire County Council news.

Want to be a county councillor..? Here’s what you need to know!

A briefing session is being organised for anyone who is interested in standing as a county councillor in the May elections.

Politics
Politics

UNITARY AUTHORITY: Leader of West Lindsey District Council

Jeff Summers, Leader of West Lindsey District Council, has given his views on plans for a unitary authority for Lincolnshire.

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Martin Hill

UNITARY AUTHORITY: Council leader explains why referendum ‘now won’t be possible’

Leader of Lincolnshire County Council, Martin Hill, has explained why a poll on transforming local government in Lincolnshire won’t now be possible – although some form of consultation “could still happen”.

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Politics

UNITARY AUTHORITY: Labour calls for ‘end to shambles’

This Friday (February 24) at Lincolnshire County Council, the Labour Party opposition is planning to vote against plans for a unitary authority in Lincolnshire.

News
Martin Hill

UNITARY AUTHORITY: Lincolnshire County Council leader’s view

Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill said the abolition of the county council and seven districts to create a new unitary system would save £150m over five years.

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Politics

UNITARY AUTHORITY: Lincolnshire Conservatives

“Here in Lincolnshire we currently have eight councils, one county council and seven district councils.

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Politics

UNITARY AUTHORITY: East Lindsey District Council’s view

East Lindsey District Council leader Craig Leyland, said: “The clear advice received by the Deputy Returning Officers was that a referendum run as proposed by the County Council in conjunction with the County Council election on May 4 would not have been legal.

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Politics

UNITARY AUTHORITY: City of Lincoln Council’s view

Coun Ric Metcalfe, Leader of City of Lincoln Council, said: “The county council has stated on several occasions that it intends to run a referendum on 4 May to gauge support for a unitary authority.

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Politics

UNITARY AUTHORITY: North Kesteven District Council’s view

Councillor Mrs Marion Brighton OBE, Leader of NKDC, said: “I think we are all agreed that the concept of local government reorganisation and the potential for unitary authorities needs to be fully explored and tested by the population of Lincolnshire.

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Lincolnshire County Council offices in Lincoln. Photo: Rob Foulkes EMN-161219-160126001

Lincolnshire’s ‘Super Council’ plans plunged into chaos

Ambitious plans for a new ‘Super Council’ to govern Lincolnshire have been plunged into chaos.

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Children’s commissioners express ‘deep concern’ over end of child refugees scheme

Children’s commissioners express ‘deep concern’ over end of child refugees scheme

The UK’s four children’s commissioners have written to the Government to tell of their “deep concern” at the decision to end a scheme to bring lone child refugees to Britain.

Politics 2
NHS crisis: 19 hospitals face axe as doctors accuse Government of deliberate underfunding

NHS crisis: 19 hospitals face axe as doctors accuse Government of deliberate underfunding

The NHS is facing its biggest shake up in a generation with nearly 20 hospitals marked for closure and care from cradle to grave put through a wholesale overhaul to plug a £22bn black hole in health service funding, an investigation by this newspaper can reveal.

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