Local government restructure
The case for York as a unitary council
As we are already a unitary authority, no change is required for York.
The report, Successful Leadership From a Global City on a Compact Scale, sets out evidence about why York’s footprint should remain the same. The report takes each of the 3 criteria set by government in turn and provides evidence about why York meets the criteria, for example:
- The identity and local geography of York is substantial and different to neighbouring North Yorkshire authorities.
- As a median sized unitary authority and based on the latest Office for National Statistics population estimates, there are 28 smaller and 28 larger unitary authorities in England.
- As an urban and sub-urban environment with a diverse service and knowledge economy, there is more in common economically and with commuter patterns with West Yorkshire.
- York has been an independent and self-governing city since 1212, with a unique history and national and international reputation.
- York has an excellent record in delivering value for money and effective services.
- York schools are rated as some of the best in the country.
- York council is a top performer in many services including adoption, adults with mental health needs in employment and making major planning decisions under 13 weeks.
- York was in the top 4% of councils for speedy COVID-19 grant distribution.
- York has the 7th lowest council tax of any unitary authority and significantly lower than any of the surrounding rural and coastal areas. Modelling by PWC suggests that in a merger with Selby, Scarborough and Ryedale, York residents would pay an increase of over 8% in Council Tax
- York has a powerful sense of community and the retention of its current footprint has strong local support across all sectors:
We're the only unitary council in the area, and provide all the services within our boundaries, whilst for the rest of North Yorkshire service delivery is split between the County Council and the 5 district and 2 borough councils.
For York, there is no advantage in changing structures unnecessarily, which could jeopardise a range of crucial projects, create significant upheaval and uncertainty and ultimately, as our size is so much our strength, reduce the impact York can make across the region.