Leaders react over plans for a cull in level of councillors

CONCERNS: Coun Cliff Hampson
CONCERNS: Coun Cliff Hampson

MAYOR Peter Davies’ plans to cut the number of Doncaster councillors by two-thirds has been met with a mixed reaction from party leaders.

The Free Press revealed last week that Mr Davies, who wants to reduce the number of councillors from 63 to 21, said the Boundary Commission would provisionally include a review for Doncaster in its 2013 work programme.

Plans to scrap the mayoral system in the borough altogether is already under review after Doncaster councillors voted for a referendum.

Coun Cliff Hampson, deputy Lib Dem leader, was concerned councillors that were left would bear the burden of work.

He said: “We’re already doing an awful lot of work and with less of us it could mean three times the work.

“If Mr Davies cuts it down even more, the general public will be the losers. We don’t need to get rid of the number of councillors, we need to see it diversified.”

Tory leader Coun Allan Jones said the move depended on the decision of the mayoral referendum.

He said: “I’m not concerned because not a lot can be done whilst the review of the referendum is underway. Our party is aware of the potential reduction in councillors but the outcome of the referendum is the tipping point as to whether this can progress.”

Coun Martin Williams, of the Community Group, said he would work as a councillor for free for the “honour and privilege”.

However, Labour party leader Coun Sandra Holland, said the commission had made no commitment to hold a review.

She added: “As Mr Davies can’t get councillors elected who support him, he would sooner abolish them so he has fewer people holding him to account as he cuts frontline services like our libraries.”

Mr Davies has said the move would save £1.2 million.