Calls for civic unity in Hampshire ahead of debate over county’s re-structure plans

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RENEWED calls have been made for councils to work together to secure greater powers from the government.

The message from Fareham council leader Cllr Sean Woodward comes ahead of a Hampshire county meeting on Monday to talk about its own re-structure plans.

The county wants to consult over plans to create a new unitary authority to save more money each year.

But councils are concerned.

Cllr Woodward said: ‘There is the potential for our region to reap great benefits for residents and businesses alike.

‘Government is offering the Solent region £30m a year for the next 30 years, and we need to make sure we all work together to secure this and get the most out of it.

He added: ‘Hampshire’s plans, which will be put to the cabinet, will save money through local government reorganisation.

‘There are benefits to be had through that approach. but it is far more important that we bring these new funds and powers from government to our local area.

‘Government funding has reduced by over 50 per cent since 2008, and all councils have had to respond.

‘At Fareham, we have managed to reduce the net cost of providing services by over £3m, which equates to a 25 per cent cost reduction and we are on track to reduce costs even further, by another £1m, over the next three years through innovative service delivery and careful investment.’

‘There’s no reason we can’t both make savings within what we have and attract additional money through a combined authority.’

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