Harrogate Labour Party questions Northallerton's 'super authority' proposals

Harrogate and Knaresborough Constituency Labour Party says it welcomes the idea of devolution of powers from central government to York and North Yorkshire but says it is opposed to a Northallerton-led super authority of 600, 000 people.

Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 2:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th July 2020, 2:49 pm
North Yorkshire County Council offices.

It said it approves in principle, the focus on the following areas in the “Asks” document, formulated by the City of York Unitary Authority, North Yorkshire County Council and the seven district (Borough) councils to be submitted to Central Government by September 2020 as part of the current push towards devolution.

These areas are:

Transport including funding to deploy ultra-low emission public transport across the Region and to tackle congestion in urban areas such as York and Harrogate. Also the proposals to enhance rail access and infrastructure

Digital - expansion of fibre connectivity

Town Centres - Developments to meet changing retail demands by diversification and the creation of greener environments within them

Housing and Planning (especially the commitment to increase the supply of affordable housing.)

Skills - the establishment of a centre of excellence with Government to cover Low Carbon Technology Skills with regard to construction and associated areas

Business and Innovation including the support for development of Harrogate Convention Centre and also for the expansion of the Bio-Yorkshire programme not only in York but also in the proposal for District Incubator Hubs, one of which we hope would be in Harrogate

Energy, supporting the Labour Party’s Green New Deal, with the proposals to reduce carbon emissions with a Low Carbon Housing Retrofit programme, strategic low carbon energy generation.

Natural Capital working to be a carbon negative area with innovative farming and land management approaches.

A spokesperson for Harrogate & Knaresborough Constituency Labour Party said: "We support the creation of two unitary authorities which would work with a new elected mayor for York and North Yorkshire, the latter elected using the Supplementary Vote (SV) Proportional Representation System.

"It would be logical to have the two unitary authorities corresponding to the Government’s preferred population size of a minimum of 300, 000 and an optimum of 400, 000.

"This means that North Yorkshire County Council leader Carl Les’ proposal for the two unitary authorities to be current the NYCC and City of York Unitary Authorities does not meet these criteria."

Instead Harrogate & Knaresborough Constituency Labour Party says, as the precise nature of the two unitary authorities is debated over the next few months it would seem logical to look at any proposed authority in terms of:

Population size,

Main employment opportunities,

Links to Leeds City Region where applicable,

The National Parks boundaries,

Urban v rural propensity

And the party also argues that proportional representation should be the default setting for elections after devolution.

A spokesperson for Harrogate & Knaresborough Constituency Labour Party said: "Serious consideration should be given to the use of a proportional representation system in the elections, as it would be illogical to have two different voting systems in place, one for the mayor and another for the unitary authorities."

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