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Borough of Halton
—  U.A. & Borough  —

Arms of Halton Borough Council
Location within England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Constituent country England
Region North West England
Ceremonial county Cheshire
Admin HQ Widnes
Settled 12th century
Incorporated 1974 (borough)
  1998 (Unitary authority)
 - Type Unitary authority, Borough
 - Governing body Halton Borough Council
 - Leadership Leader & Cabinet
 - Executive Labour
 - MPs Mike Hall (L)
Derek Twigg (L)
 - Total 30.5 sq mi (79.09 km2)
Population (2008 est.)
 - Total 119,800 (Ranked 173rd)
 Density 3,890.2/sq mi (1,502/km2)
Time zone GMT (UTC+0)
ONS code 00ET

Halton is a local government district in North West England, with borough status and administered by a unitary authority. It was created in 1974 as a district of Cheshire, and became a unitary authority area on 1 April 1998.[1] It consists of the towns of Widnes and Runcorn and the civil parishes of Hale, Daresbury, Moore, Preston Brook, Halebank and Sandymoor.[2]

The area borders Merseyside, Warrington and Cheshire West and Chester. The borough straddles the River Mersey - the area to the north (including Widnes) is historically part of Lancashire, that to the south, Cheshire.

The origin of the District Council was the outcome of the local government commission's suggested reforms of England, in 1969, the Redcliffe-Maud Report. This proposed to create metropolitan counties constituted of Metropolitan District Councils in the most urbanised parts of England. The model was that of the London Boroughs and Greater London Council formed in 1964.

South Lancashire and North Cheshire were two of these and two new Metropolitan Counties were to be formed around Liverpool (as 'Merseyside' county) and Manchester/Salford (as 'Greater Manchester' county.) however, the towns of Widnes and Runcorn (and the County Borough of Warrington) which lay between these were reluctant to join either. The Commission agreed that the Halton group and Warrington were to become District Councils within Cheshire, as they were detached from Lancashire by the two new Metropolitan Counties controlling the territory to the north. However, the Metropolitan Counties ceased as local government units (along with the GLC) in 1984 and any remaining powers were devolved to the constituent Metropolitan Districts which cooperated together over joint police authorities and fire services.

Halton dates back to the 12th century (and beyond) when land on both sides of the river belonged to the Barony of Halton.

The district was originally formed on 1 April 1974 from Runcorn urban district and part of Runcorn Rural District from Cheshire, and the borough Widnes and the parish of Hale from the Whiston Rural District in Lancashire. On April 1, 1998 Halton became an independent unitary authority, though it is still served by Cheshire Police and Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, and forms part of Cheshire for ceremonial purposes, such as the Lord Lieutenancy.

In January 2009 an agreement was made that Halton will join the local authorities of Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, Knowsley and St Helens to form the Liverpool City Region the five MDCs which constituted the Merseyside County. This effectively reverses the position adopted in the 1970s which created it as an anomaly. As a Unitary Authority its status is the same as the MDCs.[3]



This is a chart of trend of regional gross value added of Halton and Warrington at current basic prices published (pp. 240–253) by Office for National Statistics with figures in millions of British Pounds Sterling.

Year Regional Gross Value Added4 Agriculture1 Industry2 Services3
1995 3,636 14 1,361 2,261
2000 4,768 10 1,433 3,324
2003 5,774 18 1,399 4,356
  • ^1 includes hunting and forestry
  • ^2 includes energy and construction
  • ^3 includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
  • ^4 Components may not sum to totals due to rounding


The population of Halton in 2004 was 118,915 and it is the most densely populated district in Cheshire at 15.01 persons per hectare (3,890.2/sq mi).[4] The change in population during the 20th century is shown in the following table.

Year 1901 1911 1921 1931 1941 1951 1961 1971 1981 1991 2001
Population 57,755 57,062 61,039 65,309 71,835 79,026 87,168 96,150 121,861 124,915 118,215

In 2003 Halton had the largest proportion of the population in Cheshire in the age groups under 5, 5 to 15 and 16 to pension age and, at 16.1% the lowest proportion of people at pension age or older. At 1.2% the proportion of non-white ethnic groups in 2001 equalled the lowest in all local authorities in Cheshire. At 11.5 per 1,000 population, the live birth rate in Halton and Warrington, is the highest in the county. At 121 the standardised mortality ratio and at 21.5% the percentage of persons with limiting long-term illness are considerably the highest in Cheshire.[6]

There has been an increase in the number of households from 47,214 in 1991 to 52,501 in 2006. The average household size has reduced from 2.70 in 1991 to 2.44 in 2001. 89.8% of houses had central heating in 2001 compared with 75.8% in 2001. The type of housing has also changed with an increase from 15.5% to 19.2% in detached houses from 1991 to 2001, an increase over the same years in semi-detached houses from 30.0% to 33.0% and a corresponding decrease in terraced houses from 44.0% to 37.5%.[7] The percentage of dwellings in council tax bands A-B is, at 69% the highest in any Cheshire local authority while the percentages in bands E-F (8%) and G-H (1%) are the lowest.[6]

There has been a shift in employment from manufacturing to service industries. In 1991 34% worked in the manufacturing sector and 61% were in the service sector. By 2004 17% were in manufacturing jobs and 78% were in service jobs.[7]


Since Halton became a unitary authority in 1998 the Labour party has controlled the council.[8] Elections to the council are held in 3 out of every 4 years, with one third of the 56 seats being elected at each election. After the last election in 2008 the composition of the council was:[8]

Party Councillors
Labour 33
Liberal Democrat 14
Conservative 9



Performance table

This table shows the percentage of pupils in each school gaining five GCSE A*–C level grades, including English and Maths, in the years 2005–2008 compared with the local and national averages.[9]

School Number on roll
2005 2006 2007 2008
The Bankfield School 202 25 29 33 50
Fairfield High School 167 27 33 37 51
The Grange Comprehensive School 229 27 24 27 35
Halton High School 114 19 22 24 18
The Heath School 209 44 42 50 63
St Chad's Catholic High School 170 31 39 39 45
Saints Peter and Paul Catholic College 277 32 31 48 48
Wade Deacon High School 227 55 53 67 78
Halton average 32.8 33.3 41.0 49.2
National average 44.3 45.3 46.0 47.3

Twin towns

See also


Coordinates: 53°20′N 2°45′W / 53.333°N 2.75°W / 53.333; -2.75


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