The Conservative MP for Shrewsbury & Atcham, Daniel Kawczynski, has suggested merging Telford & Wrekin Council with Shropshire Council. He says that a combined authority could save £14m a year through efficiencies which could be spent on improving services.
Shropshire County Council abolished the five district councils in Shropshire against the wishes of most residents. Cost savings were promised from abolishing the district councils but the savings were pie in the sky and the district offices are still open. Centralising local government at Shirehall has reduced democratic accountability and disadvantaged not just the smaller towns but any part of the county more than 20 minutes’ drive from Shrewsbury. The unitary authority model just doesn’t work for a large rural county like Shropshire.
Telford is the largest town in the county, there is more big business in Telford and the population is growing at a much faster rate than the rest of Shropshire. There are lots of ways that Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin can work together but there are too many differences between the two local authority areas for a merger to make any sense. Whilst we would be more than happy to work with Shropshire Council where our needs and priorities match, there will be no merger while we’re in a position to stop it.