Backing for plan to cut number of councillors at Rugby Borough Council

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Plans to cut the number of Rugby borough councillors have been derided as “dismal”.

The authority this week voted in favour of asking the Local Government Boundary Commission for permission to look into removing between seven and 12 council seats – meaning the current 42 could be reduced to 30.

The council will need to be able to demonstrate to the commission that the reduced number of councillors will still be able to represent their electors and be able to carry out their duties effectively and efficiently.

If the commission accepts a request for a review, councillors will need to consider the application in more detail at a later date before any changes come into effect.

In a report discussed by councillors on Monday, borough council monitoring officer Mark Neale stated: “There is clearly a view among the general public that there should be fewer councillors.”

He estimated that the change would save at least £80,000 a year, and added: “The simple fact is that the-day-to day business of the council is conducted without the requirement to engage the majority of councillors.

“We do not need 42 councillors to run the business of the council.”

The proposal has the support of borough council leader Cllr Craig Humphrey – but others are unconvinced.

Independent Dunchurch councillor Howard Roberts believes far greater savings could be made by combining the county council with all the borough and district councils in Warwickshire to form one ‘unitary’ authority. He said: “This is a dismal alternative to pushing ahead to unitary status for Warwickshire.”

And Liberal Democrat group leader Cllr Jerry Roodhouse stressed the council was “not united” about the idea.

The borough council is responsible for services including housing, rubbish collection and parks.