We welcome the commitments of the leaders of Shropshire Council and Telford & Wrekin Council to oppose any idea of the two councils being merged. The forced merging of Shropshire’s district, borough and county councils into the behemoth of Shropshire Council unitary authority we have today has done much to undermine democracy and move power away from Shropshire’s local communities and into the hands of a centralised bureaucracy in Shirehall.
Shropshire’s political structure and institutions need to be looked at again and reformed. But merging the two unitary authorities together is not the answer. We need decentralisation and community empowerment and we need a reform by and for the people of Shropshire, not imposed by Westminster politicians.
Rather than a ‘merger’ that would in reality look more like an ‘acquisition’, other arrangements could be put in place to provide a formal and institutional framework for cooperation between the two whenever both deem it to be appropriate.