The petition of the residents of the constituency of York Central,
Declares that York’s residents and businesses are best served by having an independent council, on its current boundaries, that is focused solely on their needs and provides the basis for economic opportunity, high quality public services and a stronger community; further declares concern that if York is merged into a new council stretching 65 miles north to south there could be an increase in council tax by £117 per year; further that this would inevitably mean that resources could be diverted from York and residents would pay more money for poorer services; further that this would lead to the end of the 800-year connection between the city and its council; further that the role of Lord Mayor might be scrapped; further that the disruption to key service delivery across York would cost millions of pounds to implement; and further that it would be disastrous to do this during a public health crisis.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to listen closely to York’s residents and businesses and to the City of York Council’s submission to its consultation on local government devolution, and to work with all local politicians, including MPs, city councillors and parish and town councillors, on any decisions to do with York’s council.
And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Rachael Maskell, Official Report, 15 April 2021; Vol. 692, c. 610.]
Observations from The Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government (Luke Hall):
A consultation on proposals for unitary local government submitted by councils in Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset was launched by Government on 22 February 2021 and closed, after 8 weeks, on 19 April 2021.
The thousands of responses to this consultation are now being considered, and will help inform the Secretary of State’s consideration of the extent to which proposals meet the criteria for unitarisation, whether they are likely to improve local government and service delivery across the area of the proposal, whether they command a good deal of local support as assessed in the round across the whole area of the proposal, and whether the area of any new unitary council is a credible geography.
In deciding which proposal, if any, to implement in an area, subject to parliamentary approval, the Secretary of State will make a balanced judgement assessing the proposals against these three criteria having regard to all representations received, including responses to the consultation, and to all other relevant information available to him.