COUNCILLORS say Government ministers have snubbed an invitation to visit the county to discuss police merger plans.

Two letters were sent to Home Office Minister Hazel Blears inviting her to attend a meeting with all councils in North Yorkshire.

The letters were sent by Harrogate Borough Council chief executive Mick Walsh after councillors raised concerns about the proposed merger of North Yorkshire Police with neighbouring forces.

After receiving no replies, the chief executive wrote to Home Secretary Charles Clarke.

That letter has also not been acknowledged.

The letters were sent after Harrogate borough councillors Fred Willis and Jim Clark put forward a notice of motion deploring the merger.

The notice was supported by 46 councillors.

Coun Willis said: "It is quite incredible that such an important issue as the future of our police force has not even sparked a reply from the top at Westminster following three attempts.

"There is growing concern about North Yorkshire being swallowed up by a major force.

"The sound of ministerial silence sends the message that thousands of people we represent are not even worth the cost of a postage stamp."

Coun Clark said: "I think it is disgraceful that ministers are ignoring the views of thousands of people and their elected representatives.

"These proposals are being pushed through and the costs will be borne by the taxpayers of North Yorkshire."

The Government has proposed that North Yorkshire Police merges with West Yorkshire, or amalgamates with the three other forces into a Yorkshire and Humber force.

North Yorkshire Police Authority favours the second option.

Members have voiced serious concerns about the impact of any amalgamation on neighbourhood policing in rural areas. A report estimates the cost of the merger could be more than £220m.

However, North Yorkshire Chief Constable Della Cannings, who also supports the formation of a Yorkshire and Humber force, believes that figure is too high.

A spokesman for the Home Office was unable to say why no one had responded to the letters.

He said the Government was in ongoing talks with police authorities and organisations such as the Local Government Association over the merger plans.