Tory Dorset MP slams council mergers as anti-democratic

Plans to reorganise local government in Dorset in a bid to save cash are an “attack against democracy”, an MP has claimed.

Chief executives from all nine councils in the county presented four shake-up options at a meeting on Thursday night.

Proposals include the possible merger of Bournemouth, Poole, Christchurch and East Dorset.

Christchurch MP Chris Chope said merger plans would be “suicide” for residents.

Dorset’s councils said they receive £142m less per year in government funding now than in 2010-11, and need to cut spending by £200m a year by 2019-20, with further cuts of £30.4m estimated by 2025.

Anthony Alford, leader of West Dorset District Council and vice-chairman of the Dorset Leaders’ Growth Board, said considering change was “essential” in order to reduce costs “and ensure councils are sustainable for the future”.

Aahh, a “Dorset Leaders Growth Board” – shades of our old East Devon Business Forum and our Local Enterprise Partnership! True, no democracy there!