York Liberal Democrats are standing up for our communities and opposing Conservative plans to merge self-governing York into a super-council stretching across the whole county.
Add YOUR voice to the opposition to these plans by filling out our survey online at: http://tiny.cc/YorkLDsurvey
In the last few weeks, following a meeting with a Government minister on a potential devolution of powers to our region, Conservative council leaders in North Yorkshire have been putting together rival plans to meet their Government’s demands. The Government has stated that it wants to see district councils across the UK abolished, and from the autumn it will start the process regardless of whether councils, residents and businesses agree or not.
As explained in the Yorkshire Post last week, North Yorkshire is made up of North Yorkshire County Council, which runs services such as social care, transport, and education, with seven district councils running planning, waste collection and other services. City of York Council stands alone running all those services as one overarching unitary authority.
Whilst North Yorkshire County Council favours replacing all the district councils across its current area with just a single authority, working alongside York, some of the other district council leaders, supported by the two local Conservative councillors in York, are putting forward rival plans. Some of those plans include unnecessarily merging self-governing York and our communities into a new remote super-council - potentially stretching from the outskirts of Doncaster to Redcar and Cleveland, along the east coast.
Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council said:
“York is a unique, self-governing and historic city, and as such we do not believe that any wasteful changes to our structures or boundaries are required. Any other model of local government would fail to effectively represent York’s history, communities and the unique characteristics of the city.
“Local people will be surprised that the government are choosing this moment to force a top-down reorganisation across the country on social care, schools and councils, when instead they should be focussing on helping local communities and councils recover from the current crisis.
“Having campaigned for a fair deal for York, we would be deeply concerned about any prospect of decisions that affect our city being taken in Scarborough, Northallerton or Selby, by people that know little about our city or its local communities.”
Councillor Andrew Waller, Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning added:
“Decisions affecting York should be taken in York.
“York is already a single-tier council, and is exactly in the middle of the list of such councils by size - so there is no case to change York's boundaries on this basis. The priority at the moment should be to get the city’s communities, businesses and residents back on their feet. This is just a needless distraction.”
“I am deeply concerned by the potential impact on the budgets of York’s households, as we could see council tax increases of 10% based on what North Yorkshire residents currently pay on average - that's an extra £177 for a Band D property – with the prospect of seeing this funding going outside of the city.”
Local residents can give us their views and add their voices to the opposition to these plans by filling in York Lib Dem’s survey online at: http://tiny.cc/YorkLDsurvey