PLANS to reorganise councils in North Yorkshire could cost £47m, Vale of York MP Anne McIntosh says.

Communities Minister David Miliband announced proposals to consult shire councils on the future of local government last week.

He has insisted that no decisions have been taken, but a leaked memo last year revealed he believes a double tier of a county council and several districts -such as in North Yorkshire - is confusing to residents.

One option would lead to three unitary authorities in the county.

Yesterday, Miss McIntosh said new research estimates that the costs of the restructuring could be between £201 and £358 per household.

She said the total bill across the county could be £47m.

"Combined with the plans for regional police and fire forces, this is all about making way for unelected regional bureaucrats and sidelining democratically elected councillors," she said.

"Restructuring will do nothing to improve local services and could make town halls more distant from local people."