County Decentralisation not costed!

In their haste to undermine opposition arguments re the future of County Hall, Labour have again mislead residents. In last week’s Herald they claimed that the Peer Review and auditors Ernst Young ” gave the thumbs up to the devolution plans and expressed the opinion that they were value for money for the council tax payers of Northumberland”. 

Plans for “devolution” or “decentralisation” are, as yet, to be fully outlined, let alone costed. The Labour Leader refuses to talk to Morpeth as, apparently, his “plan” for the town is nowhere near finished and he has no idea how many jobs he will allow us to have based here. So, what details about “decentralisation” could the auditor have audited? 

I was told by one former senior head of service at County, that the only way that particular service could be decentralised would be if there were more staff. That is likely to happen sometime never. So, if “decentralisation”  is not a totally empty promise, does it mean that individual services will be deposited in specific towns, such as Education to Hexham, Planning to Alnwick  or Highways to Berwick? That would create even more of a “silo effect” than exists already at County, with communication and joined up thinking (or lack of) becoming even worse than ever. So is this kind “offer” to the main towns in the county genuine or not? 

So, we have to wait until the great ones decide to let us in on the secret of what is to become of our own town and whether my may get 6, 12, 24, 48 or whatever number of jobs he ultimately deems appropriate.  He allows us no say whatsoever. 

I therefore repeat what I have said to Morpeth Herald readers; write to Cllr Davey at County Hall and tell him your views. He and his Labour colleagues have a duty to this town too, and it is about time they listened to us instead of coming up with expensive but useless ideas like  the “superschool”.  

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About Joan Tebbutt

Joan is a Morpeth Town Councillor representing Morpeth Kirkhill, and previously represented the area on Castle Morpeth Borough Council and the County Council before it became a Unitary Authority. She has been a school governor for 14 years and is Chair of Governors at Morpeth County First School (Goosehill). A former Mayor of Morpeth (2013/14) she is Chair of Morpeth Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group and Chair of the Town Council's Planning and transport Committee.
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