For those of you who have been fortunate enough to escape the debate so far, we will shortly be asked to vote on what is termed a unitary authority for Somerset. This note is an attempt at a simplistic explanation to what is going on.
The government has decided to do away with Somerset's current 5 local councils and replace then with what is termed a unitary authority.
There are two proposals currently on the table. These are:
* One Somerset. A proposal by the County Council that will replace the existing authorities with just one. Some powers will be handed down to community networks and parish councils
* Stronger Somerset. A proposal by the District Councils to create two unitary authorities, one for the East and one for the West.
Stronger Somerset are pressing on with a plan to gather our opinions by having a vote, this will be online or via post. One Somerset are refusing to get involved for reasons not immediately clear. The vote will not be binding on the Government, but may be a factor in the final decision.
Our standing MP Ian Liddell-Grainger supports the Stronger Somerset proposal, while the three of the remaining (all Conservative) local MPs favour One Somerset, and one is undecided.
Proposals for One Somerset can be read here
Proposals for Stronger Somerset can be read here