Harrogate Borough Council subject to hostile takeover in local government shake-up: Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Councillor Andy Brown, Green Party, Parliamentary candidate for Skipton and Ripon.

THERE are a number of significant concerns over the shake-up of local government in North Yorkshire:

1. The decision to put all local decision making under a single North Yorkshire Council simply concentrates more power in the hands of a larger more remote council. It represents a hostile takeover of Harrogate Borough Council.

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2. The eventual elections for councillors and the election for a Mayor of North Yorkshire and York are expected to take place via a crude first past the post system which will discourage significant numbers of local voters from expressing their genuine choice.

Does unitary status for North Yorkshire County Council represent a hostile takeover of towns like Harrogate?

3. This is an unnecessary re-organisation which has everything to do with political choices and little to do with genuine improvements to services. It is already causing disruption. Much has been promised but all that is being delivered is chaos, confusion and bureaucratic delay.

4. Reorganisations rarely deliver the promised savings. If North Yorkshire County Council was serious about savings it could start right now on reducing the number of buildings it uses by adapting to an era of much more home working.

5. The reorganisation does nothing to help pursue the genuine needs of local people. Our representatives should be focusing on real issues, not using all their energies on a wasteful reorganisation.

The big issues for local people that risk being neglected include:

Will Ripon benefit when North Yorkshire County Council becomes an unitary authoruity?

*Prioritising the actual housing needs of local people instead of the most profitable thing for large developers to build.

*Ensuring our farmers and our consumers are protected against the consequences of new trade deals.

*Making streets safe to walk and to cycle instead of prioritising the needs of fast through traffic.

*Making education a pleasure and a route to success instead of constantly focusing on sterile exam tutoring.

*Making our economy successful and genuinely sustainable.

*Responding rapidly and the challenge of multiple environmental emergencies.

Rarely has a re-organisation of the deck chairs been more over-hyped. It would be wonderful to see a genuine increase in the power of local government. It is horrible to see local democracy weakened to help a small group of politicians from one party increase their power.

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