PROPOSALS to create an elected regional assembly have been given a resounding thumbs down by councillors in the Hambleton district.

They say the Government's scheme will lead to remoteness and a lack of local representation. Members of the council's cabinet were reacting to the White Paper published last month which set out plans for a directly elected assembly for Yorkshire and Humberside and the other regions.

A yes vote would be needed from referendums with local people before they could be established. But Hambleton is already making its position clear.

Deputy leader Arthur Barker said: "We do not want a regional government for Yorkshire. If the Government wants to devolve power at local level it should be devolved to local authorities."

He said many of the responsibilities likely to be placed on the assemblies were already undertaken at a regional level. He said the issue contained an element of change for the sake of change rather than for improvement.

Coupled with a referendum for an elected assembly are proposals to reorganise district and county councils into different unitary authorities - something which has also stirred Hambleton to anger.

Coun Barker said that almost 90 per cent of the population of Yorkshire did not live in North Yorkshire and had no interest in its local government - yet they would have a say in future service.

"This element of the White Paper is fundamentally wrong and must be recognised as such."

Hambleton councillors are now to lobby central Government and local MPs with their comments.

* An information evening was held last night in Northallerton town hall to summarise and explain the key points in the White Paper.