THE opening shots in what is likely to be a bitterly fought war were fired today when hundreds of North Yorkshire businesses received a mail shot asking for their views on plans to create a regional parliament for Yorkshire and Humberside.
District councils in the county - which would be disbanded if such a parliament were formed - are keen to discover if the county's business community thinks a local referendum should be held in the relatively near future to ascertain whether they would want such a parliament.
Other soundings of public opinion will continue over the next few weeks, with more questionnaires and telephone polls.
And although the mail shot circulars are carefully worded, they leave no doubt as to the concerns of elected councillors in the present system: such a parliament would be extremely expensive and totally dominated by the big towns and cities in West and South Yorkshire.
The Craven District Council circular makes the following points:
- One issue to consider is whether the added value of a regional assembly might bring would be worth the cost
- The future shape of local government in North Yorkshire would be decided by the people in South and West Yorkshire
- And, in more general terms, it hints that the best way for North Yorkshire people opposed to a referendum to make their voices heard is to fill in and return the enclosed questionnaire.