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Concerns over timing of West Yorkshire devolution consultation

A Councillor  will  argue that people were too concerned with the impact of Covid-19 to give their full attention to a consultation on West Yorkshire Devolution.

This afternoon Bradford Council will hold its first full Council meeting since lockdown – although all 90 Councillors will be meeting virtually rather than in City Hall.

The only item being discussed will be the proposed West Yorkshire Devolution deal, and members will be asked to agree that Bradford supports the deal.

Members will be told that over 4,500 people in West Yorkshire responded to a public consultation on the proposals this Spring.

The majority people people, according to a Council report, supported the plans. Earlier in the day, members of the Council’s Executive will also discuss the plans. Response to West Yorkshire Devolution consultation praised by Council bosses But at the full Council meeting, Adrian Naylor (Independent, Craven) will argue that the current climate was not the ideal time to hold a consultation on such an important issue,

He will tell the meeting: “We were in the middle of a global pandemic when people were not engaged in normal activity. I suggest that the people of Bradford were more concerned with the Covid 19 infection rate; keeping their friends and family safe and worrying about their jobs and businesses rather than engaging in a low key online consultation. I would have thought if the consultation was so important then it would have been delayed until things got back to normal or at the very least it would have been publicised more effectively as access to newspapers during this period was severely reduced which may have lead to large sections of the community not being aware of the consultation or not having access to computers to engage in it.”

He points out that a referendum on an elected Mayor was held in 2012, during which 55.1 per cent of Bradford votors voted against the plan. The Independent group will also put forward a motion calling for any decision to be dalayed until it can be proven the new West Yorkshire mayoral authority would not disenfranchise smaller political groups, such as independents.



Article originally appeared on  Telegraph & Argus

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