Bosses are no longer opposed to Basildon divorcing Essex County Council, according to the leader of Basildon Council.

Gavin Callaghan has said Essex County Council has performed a u-turn on their opposition of Basildon becoming a unitary authority.

This comes after David Finch, the leader of ECC, has said he is keen to explore different options.

Senior figures at Basildon Council have been pushing for the separation from Essex County Council for years, which has been dubbed Basexit.

Earlier this year Gavin Callaghan pleaded with ECC to agree terms for the divorce.


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Mr Callaghan said: "It’s is great to see Essex County Council u-turn on their opposition to local Government reorganisation in Basildon.

"I’m determined to end this outdated and disastrous decision-making model which sees some decisions being Basildon Council’s responsibility and others being Essex County Council’s responsibility.

"I’ve spent the last three years putting the wheels in motion to divorce Basildon from ECC and I’m glad that the county council are recognising the need for change.

"They’re incredibly late to the party, but I welcome the change of heart and look forward to working with them to end their dysfunctional organisation for the good of our residents and businesses."

David Finch added: "Following a speech last week by Simon Clarke MP, Minister for Local Government, on the future shape of local government, Essex County Council is open to exploring the opportunities which reform of our existing structures could offer.

“We are keen to engage with all our partners across local government, with residents across all our communities and with wider stakeholders on the potential options which could be explored here in Essex, including those which may devolve powers from central government to local level.

“We have no view yet of how that conversation might take place or indeed what a new structure for local government in the county might look like – until we know more about the process, we simply support the principle of working with partners on this agenda.

“The Covid-19 crisis requires us to think completely differently about local government, and how we meet the future needs of our communities.

"It has brought Essex together in what has been an exceptionally strong response, one we can be proud of as we continue to work on the restoration of services and our economic recovery.”