Local Government Act 1972
Its pattern of two-tier councils remains in use today in large parts of England, although the metropolitan county councils were abolished in 1986 and it was replaced with unitary authorities in many areas in the 1990s. In Wales, it established a similar pattern of counties and districts. These have since been entirely replaced with a system of unitary authorities. In Scotland, the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 established a similar system of two-tier regions and districts in 1975 – this was also replaced by a system of unitary council areas in 1996.
Elections were held to the new authorities in 1973, and they acted as 'shadow authorities' until the handover date. Elections to county councils were held on April 12, for metropolitan and Welsh districts on May 10 for non-metropolitan district councils on June 7.
Metropolitan counties change
Metropolitan districts change
Non-metropolitan counties change
Non-metropolitan districts change
The Local Government Boundary Commission originally proposed 278 non-metropolitan districts in April 1972 (still working with the county boundaries found in the Bill). A further eighteen districts were added in the final proposals of November 1972, which were then ordered.
The splits were as follows (in most cases the splits were not exact, and many other changes to the borders of the districts took place at this time)
- Devon: Torridge/North Devon
- Dorset : Weymouth and Portland/Purbeck, North Dorset/East Dorset
- Durham : Wear Valley/Teesdale
- Hereford and Worcester : Hereford/South Herefordshire/Leominster
- Humberside: Holderness/North Wolds
- Isle of Wight: South Wight/Medina
- Lancashire: Hyndburn/Rossendale
- Leicestershire : Rutland/Melton, Harborough/Oadby and Wigston
- Lincolnshire: Boston/South Holland
- Northamptonshire: Daventry/South Northamptonshire
- Northumberland : Berwick-upon-Tweed/Alnwick
- Shropshire : Oswestry/North Shropshire, Bridgnorth/South Shropshire
- Somerset: Taunton Deane/West Somerset
- Suffolk: Forest Heath
The new district in Suffolk was necessitated by the decision to keep Newmarket in Suffolk; which would otherwise have become part of the South Cambridgeshire district.
Isles of Scilly change
Section 265 af the Act allowed for the continuation of the local government arrangements for the Isles of Scilly. The Isles of Scilly Rural District Council became the Council of the Isles of Scilly, and certain services were to continue to be provided by Cornwall County Council as provided by order in council made by the Secretary of State, although the Isles were not technically in Cornwall before or after 1974.
|New county||Existing geographic county||County boroughs||Other parts|
|Denbighshire||none||all except Llanrwst and area|
|Merionethshire||none||Edeyrnion Rural District|
|Gwent||Monmouthshire||Newport||except parts in Mid Glamorgan and South Glamorgan|
|Breconshire||none||Brynmawr and Llanelly|
|Merionethshire||none||all except Edeyrnion Rural District|
|Denbighshire||none||Llanrwst and area|
|Mid Glamorgan||Glamorgan||Merthyr Tydfil||Aberdare, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Pontypridd, Rhondda etc.|
|Breconshire||none||Penderyn and Vaynor|
|Monmouthshire||none||Bedwas and Machen, Rhymney, part of Bedwellty|
|Breconshire||none||all except parts to Gwent and Mid Glamorgan|
|South Glamorgan||Glamorgan||Cardiff||Barry, Cowbridge, Penarth|
|West Glamorgan||Glamorgan||Swansea||Glyncorrwg, Neath, Llwchwr, Port Talbot|
Elections were held to the new authorities on three different Thursdays in 1973. Each new county and district was divided into electoral divisions. For county councils, each electoral division elected one member; for metropolitan district councils, each ward elected three members; and wards in non-metropolitan districts could elect a varying number of members. There was not sufficient time to conduct a full warding arrangement so a temporary system was used: in some county councils electoral divisions elected multiple councillors.