LOOKING at the East/West model for two new unitary authorities put forward by the district councils in North Yorkshire, looks like an attempt to save their skins, and reading their documents it just makes you wonder why no one ever thought of doing this before.

How much money has been wasted by perpetuating the existing council structure? Millions I suspect. Suddenly there are massive potential savings which could bring in an ‘estimated £2.23bn to the region’. It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas.

What infuriates me about local politicians is that these reforms should have been done ages ago. We are over-represented democratically in this country and most people don't really know or understand the responsibilities of district and county councils because it is confusing.

In North Yorkshire we have 72 county councillors and six MP's with a population of 618,054 in the last census of 2019. This equates to an MP per 100,000 and county councillor per 8500 residents. Isn't that enough representation?

North Yorkshire's proposal is the obvious choice by far for a number of reasons, as it should be a lot cheaper to implement as their offices already exist. There are significant savings in eradicating duplicate back office functions and releasing funds to be reinvested into the unitary authority and services that they are mandated to provide to residents. Finally it will be a larger council which will have more clout when dealing with central government in negotiating and getting investment into the county.

What's really disappointing with both proposals, are the lack of audited accounts showing the savings and potential improvements to services offered anywhere on the county and district council's websites. If the council's genuinely want community engagement then provide decent information that enables residents to make informed choices.

Personally speaking I cannot see logically how the North Yorkshire CC proposal is going to be more expensive. If you are worried about a reduction in local representation then just add more councillors to the county council. It will be a lot cheaper than building two new council offices, that's for sure!

Simon Desborough