Initial response from Future Dorset Council Leaders Cllr John Beesley, Cllr Rebecca Knox, Cllr Janet Walton, Cllr Jeff Cant, Cllr Anthony Alford, Cllr Graham Carr-Jones.

Council leaders welcome Secretary of State’s support for local government reform in Dorset

Statement attributable jointly to:

Cllr Rebecca Knox, Dorset County

Cllr John Beesley, Bournemouth

Cllr Graham Carr-Jones, North Dorset

Cllr Janet Walton, Poole

Cllr Anthony Alford, West Dorset

Cllr Jeff Cant, Weymouth & Portland

“We have bold ambitions for our county, and strongly believe our plan will deliver a bright and successful future for all those who live here.

“We presented overwhelmingly strong evidence to the Secretary of State – evidence of public support, of backing by Dorset’s business community and voluntary sector, and of immense benefits for the whole county.  Our case for change showed that our plans will drive forward the economic prosperity of the county, helping people achieve a better quality of life.

“Two councils will be more efficient, save money and protect public services.  They can begin to secure a sustainable future for the public services that people value and need, including and in particular, essential social care for our growing older population.

“Replacing Dorset’s nine councils with two new ones – structured around the established urban and rural geography of the county – will bring a strong and prosperous future Dorset, with two councils better able to work together in the best interests of Dorset’s residents and the long-term success of the county. 

“These two councils will have greater influence nationally, better able to secure vital funding for things such as roads and housing.  This will make the area more attractive to businesses, help them to grow and thrive, meaning enhanced job prospects and better lives for local people.

“We are committed to working together and will take these discussions forward through the established Joint Committees, in which all nine councils are actively participating.

“There is now much for those Joint Committees to do.  They will be responsible for all necessary plans to ensure that both new councils are created by and operational in April 2019.

“The scale of the task cannot be underestimated.  But this immense effort we know will be far outweighed by the scale of the prize that awaits the people of Dorset – a county with a bright future that is healthier, more prosperous, vibrant and inclusive.”

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