PLANS to cut the number of councils in Dorset from nine to two have been welcomed by business leaders.

Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Ian Girling said: "The majority of businesses in Dorset will undoubtedly welcome this decision.

"The chamber officially supported Future Dorset both as part of the formal proposal and with a letter to Sajid Javid.

"The benefits will include a more cohesive and strategic approach to planning and infrastructure across the whole of Dorset as well as cost savings and streamlined services.

"It is important that businesses are consulted and given the opportunity to contribute as these proposals progress over the coming year."

Anthony Woodhouse of Hall & Woodhouse and Mandy Williams, a director at Nationwide Building Society, have both previously expressed support for the plan, as have the chief executives of Bournemouth and Poole College and Poole Hospital.

Last year, college chief Diane Grannell said: "With our focus on current and future jobs needs, we equip students to get the jobs they want in growing industries. Working with just two councils to facilitate this will make it easier to match skills to our regional industries."