Ryedale, Scarborough & Hambleton Scrapped. North Yorkshire Unitary Election May 2022

The Government has announced its proposed unitary structure for local government in North Yorkshire. The statement issued by Secretary of State Robert Jenrickon Wednesday is that North Yorkshire County Council will become the single Unitary Authority for the whole of the area it currently covers. The East/West split proposed by most of the District councils was rejected. The effect is that all of the existing District and Borough Councils will be scrapped and their functions, primarily Housing and Planning, taken over by the County. The District Councils are not happy, see District Councils Response. It has however been welcomed by York Council, which is already unitary, because it leaves it as it is, and by the local government Trade Union Unison because it means fewer local government employees having their contracts renegotiated.

Our position was to oppose both the East/West split, because the areas proposed were impractical, but also to call for deferment of the move to unitaries to allow more thorough public consultation and the development of a better proposal. However there now seems no scope for further consultation.

There will now definitely be elections for North Yorkshire Unitary Council in May 2022. We can get on with  our election campaign although we don’t yet know if the Electoral Wards will stay the same.

NEC Report of 20th July Meeting  

In a nine hour meeting last Tuesday our National Executive Committee covered, amongst other things, the General Secretary’s plan ‘Organise to Win’. which includes changes to our regional organisation, expulsions and suspensions, Liverpool Council, the position of Jeremy Corbyn, Annual Conference Contingency plan, new complaints procedure. It’s all in Ann Black’s Report  Ann’s reports on previous NEC meetings are all on her website.  

Of most direct effect for us is that the ban on real meetings due to Covid – 19 is lifted from 31st July. We can now hold person to person meetings if we wish, guidance on safety is to be issued, but are also free to continue using online meetings. The NEC will continue online for now. We also seem to have permission to use hybrid meetings although the technical difficulties are highlighted.

Future General Meetings and Events

We are now allowed to hold meetings as in person events and we are considering holding our next General Meeting on that basis.  We are also investigating the feasibility of hybrid events i.e. some people attending actually and some online. For a formal general meeting the challenge is to make sure no one is excluded from attending or voting. We would also like to hold an in person social event as soon as we can. It would be helpful if you could let us know how you would feel about coming to a real event in September or if not as soon as that when you might feel safe doing so. Let us know by email to me and/or Anne or to you branch Chair or Secretary.

Women’s Conference Agrees Our Motion on Sexual Harassment in Schools

Women’s Conference on 26/27th June overwhelmingly carried our motion calling for action against peer on peer misogyny and sexual harassment of young women and girls at school. Our delegate Chris Dowie spoke brilliantly and the motion was carried by 241,387 votes to 9,216 amongst Constituency Party members and by 1.8 million to 15,277 amongst affiliated the Trade Union members. We are indebted to the Socialist Education Association and a number of CLPs who were working together through the Childcare Coalition for helping us to get our motion onto the Conference Agenda. The Conference was a great success, conducted entirely online. Video of it is to be available at some point.

Women’s Branch Meetings

Women interested in forming a Women’s Branch met last week to hear a report back from Women’s Conference and to consider forming a Women’s Branch for Thirsk and Malton. It was felt that by giving women the freedom to organise and campaign on issues which they see as priorities and in their own way it could encourage more women to become actively involved and could help recruit new members. It was felt that given the new guidelines on Women’s Branches it was worthwhile and to take it forward a meeting will be held on Wednesday 29th September in Malton. It will be an informal meeting, venue to be confirmed, and will be part discussion of events at Annual Conference which finishes on the same day, and part to make arrangements for a General Meeting of Women members to formally launch a Branch.

Dawn Butler Expelled from Parliament

The highpoint of last week was Dawn Butler calling Boris Johnson a liar and being expelled from the House of Commons for telling the truth. This is the UCW Videoshe used as evidence of Mr Johnson’s lies. 20 million people have seen it, which may have contributed to Mr Johnson’s approval rating tanking since May, down from 48% to 38%. Still too high though.


Boundaries Commission Proposals

The Boundaries Commission Report just published proposes that our Constituency is altered by the removal of Easingwold Ward, to Wetherby Constituency, and adding Bedale and Tanfield Wards from Richmondshire Constituency. We are objecting on the non-political grounds that stretching the constituency out even further, making it almost 70 miles from East to West, makes it even more impractical and incoherent as a political entity and we are asking the Party to take this on board in their response.

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