Letters: '˜Most Whitby folk would embrace rethink of local government'
Re: Think tank calls for SBC to be abolished.
As a Scarborough Borough Council councillor, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of Whitby people, whom I represent, are of a similar view to those expressed by ResPublica.
Interestingly enough, in your article, it is clear that the county council elder also believes that the present system is wasteful and unrepresentative, to quote: the report showed the “benefits and increasing importance of working both locally and at scale.”
My thinking goes as follows:
1) In my ward and my town, there is a clear dissatisfaction with the present regime. This is, of course, not helped by an obvious confusion of roles in terms of local services.
2) This confusion leads to misunderstanding and often anger. In my experience, the majority of constituents feel that Scarborough Borough Council takes all the council tax.
Look at the bill - the majority goes to North Yorkshire County Council, police/fire services etc. It makes no sense to have this unnecessary, costly and confusing bureaucratic interface.
3) Clearly, as the report points out, the advent of a unitary authority carries much more influence and is now a model pursued by many authorities.
4) Of great appeal is the opportunity to tackle the sheer waste of resources. A trivial but poignant example is one in my ward this week. “How many people does it take to change a light bulb?” Well, with Scarborough Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council, firstly you have to find out whose light bulb it is!
Oh yes, then who gets to fix it?
The irony is that Scarborough Borough Council light bulbs are sub-contracted to...you’ve guessed it, North Yorkshire County Council fitters. Of course, the protocol, risk assessments etc cost a fortune. Who pays?
5) In our towns, I have become increasingly aware that we are marginalised. Health services, social care, schools to name but a few.
It is also clear that the majority of Whitby folk would embrace the opportunity of a re-think on how local government works.
This report opens the doors for a re-think.
Finally, during my time as a councillor, I have come to the conclusion that the present system is expensive and inefficient.
We live in a time of change and ultimately, the views of electors, who are also the paymasters, should be heard, respected and acted upon.
Cllr Rob Barnett