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It's a new dawn. It's a new day. As of today dozens of district councils cease to exist and millions of people in seven English counties now find they are living under unitary authorities. The counties concerned are Cheshire, Bedfordshire, Cornwall, Northumberland, Durham and Shropshire.

Cllr Lionel Grundy, erstwhile Conservative leader of Kennet District Council in Wiltshire, which closed down on Tuesday, told the BBC that an independent poll showed people in the borough did not want a larger council.

He said: "We ran an efficient little council and the public seemed to be quite satisfied, so the question was 'Why the change?' Big isn't always beautiful but we lost the legal argument so the only mature thing was to get on with trying to make the new council the best it could be."

There does seem to be a centralising, meddling, New Labour mentality of Big is Beautiful behind this reorganisation. Why the assumption that unitary status be achieved by functions being transferred up to the counties and abolishing the districts rather than abolishing the county councils and handing their power to the districts?

But at least with more unitary authorities might there be greater accountability with residents knowing who to blame?

33 comments for: Millions more living under unitary authorities from this morning

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