Labour calls for cut to 1 councillor per ward

CASH-STARVED Scarborough Borough Council will be urged to dramatically cut the number of councillors it has to save money.

The borough’s Labour Group is set to publicly call for the number of councillors to be slashed by more than half as part of its vision of a unitary system of government in North Yorkshire, which would see the number of authorities fall from eight to two or three.

Several council chief executives, who frequently earn six-figure salaries, would also be axed as part of the proposed overhaul, potentially making county-wide savings of over half a million pounds.

The group says the number of councillors should be cut by two thirds in the borough, leaving one representative per ward.

In Whitby and district that would see the number of borough councillors fall from a total of 12 to seven.

Those who would be affected if the decision came in would be Esk Valley councillors Tim Lawn and Guy Coulson, Mayfield Ward councillors David Chance and Jane Kenyon, Mulgrave Ward councillors John Armsby and Marie Harland and Streonshalh ward councillors Dorothy Clegg and Sandra Turner and Whitby West Cliff councillors Alf Abbott and Joe Plant.

Scarborough Borough Council says that any restructure would have to come directly from Westminster, even if the plans received the unanimous backing of every councillor.

But Coun Eric Broadbent, lead of Scarborough Borough Council’s Labour Group, said that despite job losses at the council, the authority has retained the same number of councillors.

He also feels that one councillor per ward would be sufficient, adding: “The government has said repeatedly that it is not interested in local government re-organisation, even though its own adviser, Lord Heseltine, has called for unitary authorities.

“Many smaller councils are becoming unsustainable and this now needs urgent attention.

“It would bring savings as well as being more efficient.”

The motion is to be formally proposed by Scarborough’s Labour Group to take the initiative at a meeting of the full council on 22 February.