Local elections 2022: Yorkshire Party's two candidates in push for 'powerful devolution'

The Yorkshire Party has selected two Harrogate district candidates for next month's elections to the new North Yorkshire Council.

By Jacob Webster
Saturday, 23rd April 2022, 11:28 am
John Hall and Alison Harris are the Yorkshire Party candidates for the Harrogate district.
John Hall and Alison Harris are the Yorkshire Party candidates for the Harrogate district.

Alison Harris, a retired welfare and further education worker, is standing for the Pateley Bridge and Nidderdale division. She said she is "totally committed" to bringing devolved decision-making powers to the county, as well as a "fairer system of choosing our representatives.”

The party's second candidate is John Hall who is competing to become councillor for Spofforth with Lower Wharfedale and Tockwith.

Mr Hall previously stood to be MP for Thirsk and Malton, as well as a member of Harrogate Borough Council.

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The Yorkshire Party launched in 2014 and has previously won seats on three councils in Yorkshire, including North Yorkshire County Council, East Riding Council and Selby District Council.

The party said it was founded on the "principles of localism" and highlighted the government's recent rejection of North Yorkshire's £116 million bus services improvement bid as reason why it believes the county will keep "getting nothing until Yorkshire has proper, powerful devolution."

It said: "We have the same population as Scotland, an economy 50% larger than Wales, yet the rights and funding of neither.

"The new council structure and mayor will not have significant powers or budget.

"In South and West Yorkshire, mayors were powerless to stop Westminster cancelling rail projects and increasing National Insurance during the cost-of-living crisis; the same will be true in North Yorkshire."

Those elected in the 5 May election will serve one year on North Yorkshire County Council before transitioning to the new council.

This will be in April 2023 when the existing county and district councils will be scrapped.

The changes are linked to a devolution deal for North Yorkshire which could get millions of pounds in funding, more decision-making powers and an elected mayor by 2024.

But the Yorkshire Party said it believes the abolishment of district councils will take decisions "further away from the communities they affect."

It also said it wants town and parish councils to be given greater powers, but only if they also get "sufficient training, budgets and infrastructure."

It added: "The Yorkshire Party supports a greener Yorkshire, with greener homes, commercial buildings, schools and hospitals, built on rejuvenated derelict sites, with supporting infrastructure.

"We support the protection of greenbelt, national parks and historic buildings.

"We also support greener transport and new railway lines.

"A green revolution can start only with education; we need specialist green technology colleges, providing courses to both children and adults, to build a green workforce.

"North Yorkshire’s farming and agriculture sectors deserve support; they grow the economy and reduce reliance on imports. They also form part of the essential character of Yorkshire."

The deadline to register to vote has passed and those on the electoral register should have received a polling card or letter during the last two weeks in March.

Polling stations will open from 7am to 10pm on election day.

Those who are unable to vote in person can apply to vote by post or proxy.

For more information go to www.harrogate.gov.uk/voting-elections/county-elections

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter