The Local Government Boundary Commission has announced that it will not be cutting the number of councillors as part of a review of Newcastle Council’s boundaries.
The Commission had originally announced plans to cut the number of councillors to 66 but following pressure from Newcastle’s Labour councillors they have caved in to pressure and kept the number of councillors at 78.
Newcastle currently has the lowest ratio of residents to councillors of any of the UK’s major cities with more councillors. Recent years have also seen ward budgets slashed, the number of committees cut and a reduction in the number of council meetings meaning councillor’s workloads are on the decrease.
At a time when the City Council is preparing to cut millions of pounds from council budgets they have thrown away the chance to save the public money and cut the cost of politics in Newcastle.
Proposals submitted by Newcastle Conservatives would have seen the number of councillors cut to 54 each representing their own small local government ward. A one member ward system works well in Northumberland, Durham and other local councils as it means local councillors represent areas that align with local communities.
We believe there is definitely scope for a reduction in the number of councillors and this boundary review is a missed opportunity.
Commenting on the news, James Bartle, Chairman of Newcastle Conservatives said: “It is a great shame that the boundary commission has chosen to cave in to Labour pressure and keep the number of councillors at seventy-eight.
“Newcastle has more councillors per head than Birmingham, Manchester or Liverpool – there is definitely an opportunity to save the tax payer money and protect local services.
“Newcastle Conservatives have championed a reduction in the number of councillors for many years and we are disappointed that our calls have been ignored. It is shameful that Labour councillors have put their own interests before protecting public services in Newcastle.”
The Local Government Boundary Commission is now consulting on the make-up of Newcastle’s new council wards. You can participate in the consultation by visiting their website: https://www.lgbce.org.uk/.