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Mebyon Kernow objects to reduction in number of councillors
The National Executive of Mebyon Kernow – the Party for Cornwall (MK) met on Friday 14th July and voted unanimously to object to the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s proposal to reduce the number of councillors on Cornwall Council to 87.

In 2016, the LGBCE visited Cornwall Council and announced that an electoral review had to be carried out. Members of the unitary authority initially suggested that the future size of Cornwall Council should be in the range of 105 and 115 members, but this was ruled as unacceptable by the Boundary Commission. The Council’s subsequent detailed proposal for 99 councillors was also not supported by the LGBCE, which has publicised a cut in elected members to only 87.

MK councillors took an active part in the work of Cornwall Council’s Electoral Review Panel (which operated within the constraints set by the LGBCE) and remain extremely frustrated that local views are being respected.

In its formal representation to the LGBCE, MK has called on the Boundary Commission to rethink its approach to the electoral review and not undermine representative democracy in Cornwall.

MK has also stated that its preferred option is for there to be no reduction in councillors on the unitary authority.

Extracts from MK’s representation included the following:

“Cornwall Council already has fewer councillors on principal authorities (per head of population) than almost all of the United Kingdom. Prior to the imposition of the unitary authority, Cornwall (population 540,000) had 331 councillors on principal local authorities, which was cut to 123 in 2009. A reduction to only 87 would further increase the democratic deficit from which Cornwall already suffers.”

”Wales (population 3.1 million) has 1,254 councillors on its 22 unitary authorities which – in terms of councillors per head of population – already has twice the number of councillors in Cornwall. The contrast with the local government arrangements in the neighbouring English counties of Devon and Somerset is also very stark. Devon (population 1.4 million) has 492 councillors, while Somerset (population 913,000) has 425 councillors.”

“The role of Cornwall Councillor is an extremely important one and many of the existing 123 elected members already work full-time on behalf of their local communities. Reducing the number of councillors and increasing the extent of divisions could make future workloads largely unmanageable, while those individuals attempting to take on the role in a part-time capacity would undoubtedly find it impossible to adequately represent the towns, villages and hamlets in their locality.”
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By Dick Cole. Published on 17th July 2017.

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