Barrow and Furness Constituency Labour Party has confirmed its support for a new unitary local government structure that would cover the Morecambe Bay area as part of reform plans.

The new authority, proposed by three existing councils, would be known as The Bay Authority and would take over all of the various local government functions currently carried out by Cumbria County Council, Barrow Council, South Lakeland District Council and Lancaster City Council.

The authority would cover the geographic area of Barrow, South Lakeland and Lancaster councils.

Residents and businesses in Cumbria are currently served by a two-tier system of local government.

Cumbria County Council is responsible for services such as adult and children’s social care, maintaining roads and libraries, and the district councils – Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland – are responsible for services such as rubbish collection, housing and planning, and environmental health.

The seven councils in Cumbria have been developing ideas about restructuring local government for some time and requested an invitation from the Secretary of State to submit proposals for unitary local government – a single tier of local government delivering all of the services for the area.

On October 9 the Secretary of State invited the seven Cumbria councils to submit proposals for reform across the county in the near future.

There are four proposals put forward for public consultation so far.

The Bay has so far received cross-party support among local politicians in Barrow, South Lakeland and Lancaster councils. In addition, in a survey on the proposal carried out with 4,000 members of the public, the idea proved popular.

Chris Altree, chairman of Barrow and Furness Constituency Labour Party, said: “We would urge our local public to get actively involved in the consultation process on the new authority proposals.

“We in the local Labour Party firmly believe the right choice for Barrow and Furness is The Bay proposal.

"It is a common geographical area we are already used to with it being the same area covered by the Morecambe Bay Health Trust.

"There is a historic connection between Lancaster and other areas in the Morecambe Bay area like Barrow, Ulverston, Grange-over-Sands and more, and it is also has a common broadcast area with the same TV and radio services.”