Harrogate Libdems have said that they are not opposed to the idea of devolution, but that devolution must empower local communities.
Pat Marsh, Leader of the Harrogate Liberal Democrats, said:
As Liberal Democrats we are not opposed to devolution. In fact we support empowering local communities to have more control of local decision making by transferring this away from central Government. But we do have real worries about what is being suggested for North Yorkshire. Firstly, we don’t think it is the right time to be carrying out massive reorganisation of local authorities while our public services struggle to deal with and recover from Covid-19.
Secondly, the definition of devolution is ‘The transfer or delegation of power to a lower level, especially by central government to a local level’. How can a Regional Mayor and new Combined Authorities do that? This is putting power into the hands of one person and distancing most of our District from the decision making body of a large Unitary Authority, whose demographic make up we are unaware of at the moment.
Harrogate District must not be left to play a minor role with decisions being taken quite remotely. This is not and cannot be right for our residents. If we are being pushed down that road we need to make sure that Harrogate District is joined with similar Authorities with similar issues and a similar socioeconomic profile.
We must not lose our identity, our influence and our ability to determine our own future”.