Govt aiming to abolish provinces by 2014

'Savings of over one billion euros' says minister

Govt aiming to abolish provinces by 2014

(see related) Rome, July 26 - Regional Affairs Minister Graziano Delrio said Friday the government was aiming to abolish Italy's provincial governments before provincial elections in 2014, saving over one billion euros in public expenditure. "We're aiming to prevent the renewal of provincial administrations in 2014 elections. We think we can convince parliament this is necessary. We're full of hope and faith but not certainty," he said. Earlier on Friday Premier Enrico Letta's cabinet approved a bill that will strip many of the powers of Italy's provincial governments ahead of plans to abolish them completely in Constitutional reforms. The move to abolish the provincial governments is part of a drive to reduce the cost of Italy's political apparatus as the country' struggles to emerge from its longest recession in over two decades. Letta's government has also presented a bill to phase out public funding of political parties and there are plans to cut the number of lawmakers in parliament too. The bill passed Friday will also reorganise Italy's town and city councils, merging many and creating metropolitan authorities for big cities and their surrounding areas, if it is approved in parliament. The president of the Union of Italian Provinces (UPI), Antonio Saitta, said Friday it would seek damages against the government for the ensuing "cuts to resources for citizens and services" contained in the bill. "This will crowd municipalities that do not have facilities to handle technical and critical functions, such as the management of 5,000 school buildings," he added. "Education should be considered a priority".

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