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York Could Be Marginalised If It Joins With West Yorkshire Say City's Conservatives

Minster FM News Generic

7:14am 29th November 2013

York could be left on the margins if it joins forces with West Yorkshire according to the city's Conservatives. They say creating a new super-council will put the city in a minor role as it won't be able to vote on decisions taken.

The CYC Conservative Group have called for York residents to be given more information and more say regarding the council’s goal to commit York to a new combined authority to be created in West Yorkshire, an issue which will be discussed at Tuesday’s cabinet meeting.

CYC Conservative Leader Ian Gillies said:  “The creation of new combined authorities is the Government’s preferred option for promoting local autonomy and funding economic growth.  We have no issue with this concept.  But York residents have not been kept up to speed with the Labour Administration’s goal to tie York to five West Yorkshire local authorities- Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield, creating one large ‘super-authority’ - even though York is 25 miles away.

“Labour have not been honest in portraying the necessity for joining with West Yorkshire, instead of  becoming part of a combined authority closer to home and joining with councils with whom York has more in common.  They have never made clear to the public the differences between joining the Leeds LEP, participating in the Leeds City Region and the much bigger step of committing York to a new authority through which government funding may be distributed for years to come.  They have more than implied that without joining this new authority that York will lose out financially.  What they do not say is that York will join this authority as a very junior partner with absolutely no guarantee that it will get more than scraps from Leeds’s table. 

“Labour’s cabinet papers claim the public has been consulted.  What they fail to say is that only the five West Yorkshire Authorities consulted their residents, not York.  The cabinet papers purport to demonstrate that York will benefit from decisions being taken locally instead of in Whitehall, what they don’t mention is that as a non-constituent (read ‘minor’) member York would be a non-voting member but “may be given voting rights on certain issues”.

“York does not share borders with any other members of the proposed new authority, nor does it share police, fire or other administrative functions with them and, given the distances involved, can never hope to do so.  Our transport links with Leeds and West Yorkshire are national and regional ones and we cannot meaningfully be linked with their planned integrated services.  York in all ways would sit at the very margins of this new organisation with no benefits guaranteed.  Wouldn’t it be better to explore the creation of a new combined authority with neighbouring councils which are truly ‘local’ and where York would have a major role rather than a walk-on part?

“Naturally Cllr. Alexander would rather sit with his Labour cronies in West Yorkshire instead of taking a lead amongst York’s neighbouring councils.  But no effort has been made to spell out to the residents of York the impact of committing the city to this radical course.  We therefore ask that residents be consulted and their views taken into account prior to the council irrevocably tying York to plans which we are certain will come as a great surprise to the majority of residents who do not closely follow CYC politics.”

We're waiting to hear back from York's ruling Labour group.

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