William Hague has got it wrong on over North Yorkshire council shake-up: Yorkshire Post Letters

From: Chris Steward, Former Leader of City of York Council, Copmanthorpe, York.

Former Tory leader William Hague has intervened in the North Yorkshire devolution debate.

THERE is no more genuine person in politics who truly wants the best for people than William Hague and he is someone I will always listen to (The Yorkshire Post, March 3).

There are few more intelligent people than him, so when his letter on the case for one North Yorkshire unitary council and York left on its own only features one argument it does not help the case.

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Lord Hague’s sole argument in keeping North Yorkshire as one is that it would cause slightly less disruption. That is true, but to apply that to politics more than occasionally or life in general would see us grind to a halt with no change ever. York’s Liberal Democrats are already rejoicing in Lord Hague’s letter as it would leave City of York Council as is.

How should North Yorkshire be ruled in the future?

Although these just two decade-old boundaries favour the Lib Dems more than any in York’s centuries-old history, they miss the point that Lord Hague’s letter does not even mention York.

York is the finest city in the finest county in the finest land and should be at the cornerstone of devolution and local government reorganisation due to its economic, political and cultural importance; it should not be an after thought council of just 200,000 people which has shown itself to be ineffective.

One would never choose a council area of 600,000 next to one of 200,000 and the region’s main city out on its own when looking at it objectively and nor should that be the case now just because a few councillors don’t want their jobs threatened and because there would be slightly more change.

Change is coming whatever and that needs big improvements in areas like adult social care, highways and planning; they make the decision as to the precise boundaries look trivial.

Market towns like Thirsk will be affected by the North Yorkshire local government shake-up.

From: Coun Paul Andrews (Ind), Malton Ward, Ryedale District Council.

LORD Hague’s views should come as no surprise. The Tory party has a love/hate relationship with democracy, which means that, so long as they are in control, they tolerate it.

Otherwise, they prefer remote control over our communities, which is the real reason for the reorganisation. All this talk about devolution and powering up the North is mere window-dressing and has achieved little significant improvement in 11 years of Tory misrule.

The truth is that the Tory party can rely on complete control of North Yorkshire County Council indefinitely, whereas now they do not control all of the seven districts, and cannot be sure they would control both of the two successor authorities if there is an east/west split.

County has 72 members representing a vast geographical area extending from Ingleton to Scarborough and from Teeside to Leeds. If there is a single unitary council, they will replace over 300 elected representatives. This is a crushing blow for local democracy and shows just how little Lord Hague values it.

I would strongly urge readers to respond to the government consultation by making it clear that they object to, and oppose, the reorganisation in principle, but that if it has to go ahead, they would prefer the east/west split and not a unitary county.

From: Dr Alastair Cook, Austwick.

IT may be a form of lèse majesté to disagree with Lord Hague but North Yorkshire that extends from ‘...Ryedale to Richmond...’ not only excludes the entirety of the Dales National Park but also those of us who live even further west, in the Lunesdale catchment at the foot of the Three Peaks.

Perhaps he has forgotten that the essence of local government is that it should be local. The advantage is that one can usually find someone (in person, even if at two metres) who is nominally responsible for the present shambles that is local government to complain to/argue with or from whom to seek advice. Making it bigger and ever more bureaucratic, behind ramparts of unanswered correspondence and unintelligible ‘select one of the following options’ phone systems will not improve any facet of local government. It has, after all, done nothing for the national version.

From: Dave Ellis, Hedon.

‘CONCERNS should be raised about the existing North Yorkshire County Council using council taxpayers resources to push for a super multi-disciplined local authority (The Yorkshire Post, March 3).

If council officials and elected members are so confident that they have ‘stuck to Government guidelines’, then why don’t they publish in The Yorkshire Post and local papers how much has been spent on various methods of communication or publicity campaigns to get the message over to residents and businesses?

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