Pendle Liberal Democrats reject Lancashire Mayor

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Leading Pendle Liberals have called on Pendle Council to reject what they call the “dangerous, costly and undemocratic” proposal for an elected Mayor for the whole of Lancashire, at the special Council Meeting on Friday.

Liberal Democrat group leader Councillor David Whipp said: “Residents risk losing control of local issues as Conservative and Labour leaders throughout the County stitch up a deal to centralise power in Lancashire and impose an Elected Mayor covering the whole of the county.

“The Government have made it quote clear that if it goes ahead, Councils like Pendle will be abolished and replaced by sprawling Unitary Authorities. All the things that Pendle now decides and does, affecting our local towns and communities, will be taken in Blackburn (or perhaps even Preston) by people who know little or nothing about our area.

“If implemented, the changes will see the biggest loss of local control in the county since the local government reorganisation in 1974 when Pendle Council was set up out of nine different council areas.

“It is bizarre that people are talking about shuffling the deckchairs when the country is facing the biggest peacetime crisis in centuries. This awful power grab must be stopped.”

Councillor Tony Greaves who also sits in the House of Lords said: “This is a combination of party bosses in Preston and Blackburn seeing the chance of grabbing more power for themselves, and a Government that seems to want to close down genuinely local government and is using the Covid crisis as a cover.”

He added: “The whole idea of just one elected Mayor to run things from Skelmersdale to Barnoldswick, and from Bacup to Morecambe, is a nonsense. And a change to huge Unitary Councils will cost at least £30m just to make the changes – what a shocking waste of money at this time.

“I am afraid that anyone who thinks that Pendle – in the far east of the County – would get a fair look-in which Preston and Blackburn grab everything that’s going is deluding themselves. People in Pendle will just pay out more and get far far less.”

Pendle Liberals hope that people throughout the County will join the campaign to stop this plan.

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