Plans for devolution across North Yorkshire has caused many of the councils to twitch, that they will disappear, and many individuals will lose their power bases. Part of devolution will be to remove council bloat, but they need to demonstrate public support for any proposals.
- Devolution would mean North Yorkshire County Council and all District and Borough equivalents be dissolved.
- A devolution sees powers transferred from government to a local level.
- The government has made it clear to local councils reorganise local government in order to secure a devolution deal for the region.
The seven districts of North Yorkshire and borough have joined forces to launch “Working together to get change right” – a campaign to create a people-centred proposal for local government reorganisation in York and North Yorkshire – it’s notable that neither North Yorkshire County Council nor York City Council are part of this group.
North Yorkshire comprises seven districts: Craven, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Selby, and the boroughs of Harrogate and Scarborough.
The campaign begins today (1 August), Yorkshire Day – a day that was originally celebrated in 1975 as a protest against local government reorganisation.
However, 45 years on, council leaders say they are not fighting against reform, but are standing up for the “right deal for residents”, services and the economy.
District and borough council leaders are now working together to put forward what they consider as the right proposals for reorganisation.
They say it is a proposal “which will maintain close links to communities and ensure residents and businesses still have a voice.”
Speaking on behalf of the council leaders’ group, Councillor Richard Cooper, leader of Harrogate Borough Council, said:
We were in discussions with the minister earlier this month, and it is clear that the government is open to granting devolved powers and potentially billions in investment to our area, but only if local government is reorganised first. It’s really not a question of “if” reorganisation will happen. It’s more a question of “how”.
A mega council, covering the entire North Yorkshire area – the biggest county area in the whole country – has been mooted. But we don’t believe that’s workable, or in the best interests of our people, places and economy. Our citizens deserve better, which is why we’re campaigning to create an alternative bid that gets reorganisation right.
Reorganising local government will affect the lives of 800,000 people, so we’ve got to get it right. Over the next few weeks we will be reaching out to communities, businesses, councillors, parish councils and other local organisations, to find out how we can build on what we already do well, and where things could improve.
We’ll be doing a lot of listening. We want any bid that goes before government to have local support, and we hope that government will respect that grass-roots approach.