I WAS stunned to read that Keane Duncan, the Conservative candidate to be North Yorkshire’s mayor is going to introduce free parking in Skipton and five other North Yorkshire towns (if he wins the election). (Free Parking Pledge by Skipton Mayoral Candidate, Craven Herald online, March 21).

The Conservatives have controlled North Yorkshire Council for the last 21 years with no mention of such a policy. It is also worth bearing in mind that Mr Duncan is presently North Yorkshire Council’s Executive member for Highways and Transport and as such is directly responsible for parking in these towns, Kex Gill and all the pot holes.

This policy is a simple-minded con that we are informed will be paid by a Mayoral Fund i.e. our council tax money. The people of North Yorkshire do not need this gimmick, nor a new mayor or this election – itself costing £2.2 millions. What we do need is some decent local government with proper subsidies from central government.

Central government grants to local government were cut by Conservative governments, in real terms, by 40 per cent in the decade 2009/10 to 2019/20 from £46.5bn to £28.0bn (Institute of Government, 2020). Whilst what we pay in our council taxes increased by over 30 per cent over the same period.

Phil Lee

Elslack, Skipton