CUMBRIAN residents are running out of time to have their say on the future of local government in the county.

There is now less than a week for the public to get their views in after the Government launched a formal consultation in February.

It came after Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick invited councils in Cumbria to submit proposals for moving to a unitary authority in October.

The consultation will close on Monday, April 19. In total, the Secretary of State received four proposals from local councils in Cumbria.

Cumbria County Council’s plan would see a single unitary authority encompassing the entire county.

Under a unitary authority, a single tier of local government is responsible delivering all of the local government services for the area.

However, the other three proposals suggest splitting the county into two unitary authorities.

Carlisle City Council and Eden District Council hope to form two new authorities along with a Cumbrian mayor, with Eden, Carlisle and Allerdale Councils in the north and Copeland, Barrow and South Lakeland Councils in the south.

Copeland and Allerdale borough councils submitted a solution that would see Cumbriasplit in two across the east/west divide, with two separate unitary authorities in place.

West Cumbria council would comprise the area covered by Allerdale Borough, Carlisle City and Copeland Borough Councils and East Cumbria would be made up of the area covered by Barrow Borough, Eden District and South Lakeland District Councils.

The leader of Cumbria County Council, Coun, Stewart Young, has encouraged all residents to make their views known and join the consultation process.

He said: "This is an opportunity for local people to influence and shape the future of Local Government in our County.

"One Cumbria will remove layers of unnecessary bureaucracy by streamlining seven councils into one local model, making much more sense to our residents and to our communities.

"I am encouraging people to make their views and opinions known so that the final decision by government is informed by what people want locally.”

It is hoped that by moving to a unitary authority system, rather than the two-tier system currently in place, it will be easier for residents to access services, and end the confusion of which council is responsible for what.

Savings of up to £50 million a year have also been forecast, which would enable investment in frontline services.

Anyone wishing to have their say can complete the consultation on the Government's website.