Recently there have been letters suggesting that only York-born businessmen should be councillors and that no allowances should be paid.

This was the position more than 100 years ago and even as recently as 40 years ago.

However, was it a reflection of York residents, both of age, sex, education or class? No, because those without wealth rarely were able to stand. If that were the situation today it would not provide the knowledge and understanding of the diverse range of services provided or of the work undertaken in partnership.

York councillors are a diverse range of individuals: from the “school of life” to Masters and PhDs, with employment covering retail, care, commerce, charity, private and public institutions – teachers, nurses, lawyers, etc – to business people, retired armed forces, railways, engineering and more.

Personally, I was born in York, my familyhaving lived here for more than 150 years, and have worked in the private, public and charitable sectors of care and support over the past two decades. Are the letter writers saying women should not be councillors?

The city has had, does and will have future challenges and so needs a diverse range of councillors – men and women, young and old.

Coun Tracey Simpson-Laing, Deputy leader of City of York Council.