THE past 12 months have shown that, in times of adversity, York’s cultural, creative and heritage institutions have stepped up and supported one another fantastically well.

And I’m proud that the City of York Council has been able to play a part in supporting the sector through these difficult times, for example by developing our own micro grants scheme which delivered grants of up to £1,000 into 1,000 self-employed, micro and small businesses who needed it most.

As we look forward to the prospect of a gradual re-opening of venues and wider recovery, we need to ensure that the council is ready and able to do all it can to provide support. It is therefore not at all helpful to have as a backdrop to this the prospect of York losing its council and being merged into huge new rural and coastal council authority covering Scarborough, Selby and Ryedale.

If York’s Conservatives get their way and our council is abolished, I fear that it will be much more difficult for York’s specific needs and interests to be met.

Support for York’s cultural sector – a vital part of our local economy - will be at the mercy of councillors with no knowledge of or connection to the city. There is a real risk that we will lose out.

That’s why it’s important that as many people as possible take part in the Government consultation and send a clear message that we want to keep decisions for York in York. You can take part now at

Cllr Darryl Smalley

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Rawcliffe & Clifton Without

Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Communities

City of York Council