Local government: Dales battle cry over threat to key services

A SENIOR councillor has warned vast swathes of rural North Yorkshire are going to be disproportionately hit by Government cuts as he urged parish councils across the Dales to join and fight for the area's future.

Coun John Blackie, North Yorkshire County Councillor for the Upper Dales, has issued the warning in a letter sent out to 57 parish and district councillors across the region.

In the letter, Coun Blackie says the recently revealed grant

settlements to North Yorkshire County Council, Richmondshire District Council and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) are all worse than expected.

He added that cuts to front line emergency services and the NHS will make the problem even worse.

Now he is urging all the parish councils to join together in a Upper Dales Parish Council network to fight the cuts.

"Because of the deep rurality and sparsity of our communities in the Upper Dales, delivering public services here always costs more on a cost per head basis", he said.

"This makes what few services we have very prone to being cut savagely or completely as the leading politicians and the accountants at the public authorities that serve us seek quick wins to try to balance their books.

"If we can all stand together to resist or modify those proposals which place a disproportionate and unfair burden on our communities when compared to other more populated communities in North Yorkshire then we stand a greater chance of being successful."

It is estimated Government money for the YDNPA will be cut by more than a quarter over the next four years.

Dales chairman Carl Lis said: "It clearly represents a major challenge over the four years."