Parliament is to be asked to approve the creation of 15 education authorities based on large towns. The latest announcement from John Gummer, Environment Secretary, recommends unitary authorities based in Derby, Stoke-on-Trent, Nottingham, Leicester, Portsmouth, Southampton, Plymouth, Torbay, Bournemouth, Poole, Southend, Reading, Slough, Brighton and Hove and Thamesdown (Swindon).
He also recommends the abolition of Berkshire and its replacement by six unitary authorities. The county of Hereford and Worcester is to be split into two counties based on their historic boundaries. That decision could mean Mr Gummer will also agree to the creation of Huntingdonshire and its split from Cambridgeshire.