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Copeland council requests to slash 18 councillors

Photo: ITV Border

Copeland Borough Council is set to request its councillor numbers to be cut from 51 to 33.

It would save the authority just under £55,500 a year, totalling nearly £222,000 during the four year term in office.

The request will now be lodged with the Local Government Boundary Commission, who will confirm the number of councillors in October.

A reduction in the number of councillors would take effect from the next election in May 2019.

The council there won’t be anywhere left without a councillor as such. The number will be agreed in October, and then the wards re-drawn on the basis of that number – so all the borough will be represented, it’ll just be by (in all probability) a reduced number.

In theory, an area that currently has six councillors might see it drop to four. Neighbouring areas that have one each might merge and have one between them. These are totally hypothetical examples and will be part of the public consultation that the Boundary Commission launches in October.

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In a joint statement, mayor Mike Starkie and the leaders of the Labour and Conservative groups, Lena Hogg and David Moore, said they are supportive of the request:

In 2015, Copeland Council voted to invite the LGBC to review our governance.

“Since then, a thorough internal research process has been carried out by an experienced and independent person, uninfluenced by the Mayor or the political parties.

“It has considered the Council’s statutory functions and committees, the role of councillors in a modern council, and comparisons with neighbouring councils and similar authorities in other parts of the country.

“This review has arrived at the figure of 33 councillors, and we are fully supportive of this number.

“This Council as an organisation has significantly reduced in size over recent years, yet the number of councillors has remained at 51, with the ratio of councillors to the electorate as the lowest in Cumbria.

“We have a large number of dedicated and experienced councillors, who are passionate about their wards and the people they represent, and their contribution is of enormous value to this Council and the residents of Copeland.

“However, given the fundamental changes that the Council has experienced latterly, we believe 33 is an appropriate and sustainable number of councillors for us to have in the future.”

– Joint statement from mayor Mike Starkie, Lena Hogg and David Moore.