THE four district council leaders tell us that creating two new unitary councils instead of one will deliver better jobs and affordable homes.

They have downplayed the ‘elephant in the room’ issue of their need to duplicate existing county council services, which cost nearly 70 per cent of our unnecessarily expensive council tax.

Their Stronger Somerset business plan proposes replacing five existing councils with five new organisations - two new unitary councils, a Children’s Trust, a Joint Enabling Service and an Integrated Delivery Service to combine two unitaries in a connected Somerset.

The latter looks worryingly similar to the failed Southwest One which was created immediately after councillors voted against a unitary authority in 2007, promising savings of £180m, and locked Somerset into two-tier management for 10 years.

If councillors had voted for a unitary authority in 2007, they could have saved their citizens £200m in total annual savings, plus £89m by not approving the defensive Southwest One, the unnecessary Ignite transformation and recent property renovation and speculation.

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The One Somerset single unitary council proposal with 560,000 citizens would be better than two unitaries by matching the health system area critical to support an ageing population, and thereby avoid the need for time-consuming negotiations across two authorities.

One Somerset avoids unbalance and a larger concentration of deprivation in the west, and would also most reduce costs by properly utilising the massive improvements in communications and technology over the last 50 years.

With one management team and 100 councillors, One Somerset single unitary claims the big advantage over two unitaries of twice the annual transition savings, nearly four times the estimated five-year savings and the shortest payback time.

Of course, One Somerset also gives the strongest voice for Somerset.