Public support holds key to North Yorkshire devolution – The Yorkshire Post says

THE ECONOMIC and business case for North Yorkshire devolution – and a single council running England’s largest county – was already clear before entrepreneur James Lambert, the co-founder and former chief executive of R&R Ice Cream, now known as Froneri, offered his backing.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 11:38 am
How should council services be delivered in North Yorkshire in the future?

A unitary council under the leadership of a metro-style mayor, elected by local people rather than being hand-picked by councillors, would have a mandate – and freedom – to champion the rural economy, and bring focus to this policy agenda, rather than the existing district councils pursuing a more fragmented approach.

But the reason this proposed local government shake-up continues to attract so much antipathy is because economic growth is only part of the remit; the question is whether one council, stretching from the East Coast all the way to the Lancashire border, can genuinely provide every key public service over such a large expanse.

And while North Yorkshire County Council rightly points to its current record, notably its hard-earned reputation when it comes to children’s services for example, it clearly needs to do more to reassure residents – and those district council leaders drawing up rival plans while also urging the Government to put the process on hold due to Covid – that such a large responsibility is within its capabilities.

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Entrepreneur James Lambert (left) with North Yorkshire County Council leader Carl Les (right).

Council leader Carl Les also needs to demonstrate how the streamlining of councils will lead to enhanced services because there should – in theory – be less bureaucracy as a result of functions, like housing, planning and tourism, will come under one authority.

This is where NYCC – and its supporters – now need to focus because devolution will only fulfil its potential, and hopefully have a transformative effect on this great county, if it commands strong grassroots support from the outset. On this, the local authority still has much to do. And prove.

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Thank you

James Mitchinson