A single, strong, sustainable council for everyone in North Yorkshire

Our proposal to simplify things for people and businesses, renew our economic fortunes and protect and strengthen front line services for you.

In order to get a devolution deal, which would mean significant funding and more decision-making powers for the area, the government have said we need to get rid of our current two-tier local government.

We need to act now to ensure we are not left behind and welcome the government’s challenge which will supercharge economic development and improve quality of life across North Yorkshire.

It is our firm view that a single council, based on the current population of just over 600,000 people in North Yorkshire is the only credibly and financially sustainable option. The government has confirmed that the population size is within the scope of their devolution planning. We also estimate our proposal would deliver savings of at least £25 million a year.

As a council we already account for 80% of the gross spend on services in the county. Put simply – for every £5 spent on council services in North Yorkshire £4 is delivered by us. We know our communities. We work with local people intimately every day delivering social care into their homes, educating children and offering support for families and businesses across every parish of the county.

Watch our animation to find out more about our proposal for a new, single council for North Yorkshire

What our proposal would mean for you and the services you receive

We believe this approach will allow us to simplify, strengthen and save to the benefit of everyone in the county.


  • Remove confusion over which council provides which service for you and make it quicker and easier for you to contact, and be supported by, one organisation
  • Replace complicated partnership arrangements that could deliver more for North Yorkshire
  • Deliver better and more joined up services for everyone in North Yorkshire - so services such as bin collections and recycling centres are no longer managed by separate organisations. 
  • Better supporting local business by reducing the number of separate councils, and processes, they need to work with


  • Give you more say in the decisions that impact you and where you live and work via community
    networks mapped around market towns
  • Deliver more investment in North Yorkshire that drives economic growth and prosperity
  • Give communities more power to increase the opportunities available and quality of life for everyone 
  • Increase accountability with fewer councillors and greater roles for town and parish councils and the communities they represent with 'double devolution' where we would pass greater powers to parish and town councils if they would welcome that
  • Create a single powerful voice to speak up for our county and its communities


  • Reduce duplication and waste from having multiple organisations doing the same roles and cutting the red tape between them 
  • Benefit from the purchasing power of a larger organisation, reducing costs
  • Deliver better value for money on the council tax you pay
  • Reinvesting these substantial savings back in to front line services to benefit you even more and creating a more sustainable council, strong enough to be able to meet future challenges

What other benefits would our proposal bring? 

Our proposal has the added value of preserving the county’s identity, protecting our natural assets and North Yorkshire’s globally recognised brand and values. No other option can do this.

It would also safeguard the current unitary council in the City of York, avoiding major disruption to services there. A new single North Yorkshire Council would be best placed to strengthen shared service opportunities and take collaborative approaches with York to important matters like planning and economic development.

Benefits for business - a single strong council to make essential services simple

North Yorkshire has a vibrant, diverse economy that is home to a wide variety of exciting businesses of all sizes. Devolution offers York and North Yorkshire a unique opportunity to rebuild local government to support communities and businesses better and to make it simpler and more efficient to deliver services.

Alongside local government reorganisation, devolution in North Yorkshire will deliver a 30-year government deal with around £2.4 billion to invest in infrastructure. This will bring stability and world class aspiration for York and North Yorkshire.

Breaking up North Yorkshire and the City of York would threaten great brand names, cause huge disruption and delay a devolution deal. It is vital we seize this opportunity now to supercharge economic development, as we drive post-pandemic recovery for all our local market towns across North Yorkshire.

Cutting through the red tape

Businesses would only ever need to deal with one council. It would mean an end to having to deal with several councils with different roles and policies.

It would be business-friendly and streamlined, with strong local services and systems - the same for businesses in Skipton as for those in Scarborough - and a single organisation responsible for economic development, housing, planning, highways, trading standards and other essential services.

To ensure that there are decision-making powers on a local level, a single authority for North Yorkshire would work closely with parish and town councils, enabling them to run services, where they wanted to, that we would fund. We would put in place new ways of working with communities, understanding the issues and driving the change that is needed.

The clarity of one council working for the public and businesses will make that council more accountable.

Delivering on business priorities

Devolution will enable us to:

  • prioritise funding for the right schemes to support economic growth
  • deliver sector-based support for business growth and supply chains
  • coordinate attracting and retaining skilled workers
  • increase skills development for our labour market of almost 300,000 people
  • streamline support for accessing grants and loans with a single approach to business rate allocation and rate relief
  • offer more seamless and efficient collaboration on research between universities, research institutions and the public and private sectors

Connecting North Yorkshire to the world

High-quality connections are fundamental to our economic future. They are necessary to attract business, to help business to expand and to enable people to work flexibly. They are essential to national and international supply networks vital for many of our businesses.

A single authority would focus on delivering key projects to upgrade transport and communications infrastructure across the county, region and world. 

Already North Yorkshire is at the forefront of bringing superfast broadband to the remotest parts of our county and this year became a partner in a £6 million pilot exploring how superfast mobile connectivity can bring benefits to rural communities.

Connectivity would be key to a new single council, including:

  • better road and rail links, speeding up access to regional airports, ports on the Humber and the proposed Teesside Freeport, and east to west across the county
  • the introduction of 5G wireless and the eradication of digital not-spots, opening our rural areas to new and expanding businesses

Investment and innovation

Investment strategies will promote the whole county’s economic strengths and opportunities to the world and build on the global brand of North Yorkshire. We will encourage a culture of innovation and growth from incubator hubs to support new business growth and development zones to support established, linked industries.

Planning to succeed

A single council will allow us to simplify planning, creating one strategy to set out housing numbers, employment land allocations, development opportunities and the associated infrastructure needs.

A single council for North Yorkshire, partnered with the City of York in a devolved combined authority and working closely with York and North Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership, is the best way to serve businesses with a strong, resounding voice in Westminster and around the world.