Feelings are mixed on plans to reform local government in Cumbria at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

District councils are working together to prepare plans for a potential unitary authority in Cumbria.

Should the plans come to fruition, it could see a single mayor presiding over Cumbria.

District councils were invited to brief proposals by November 9 and they now have until December 9 to submit a full outline of the plans.

However, in a passionate video appeal, Liberal Democrat county councillor for Cockermouth Rebecca Hanson believes the Covid-19 pandemic is not the time to push ahead with plans.

Councillor Hanson has said that supporting vulnerable people struggling through lockdown and those isolating in abusive homes are the priorities during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As a councillor I deeply feel that I should be doing everything I can to support people who are struggling with these issues but that’s not what I’m doing, I’m spending meeting after meeting and hour after hour working with our officers on the practicalities of turning Cumbria into one or two unitary authorities at unprecedented speed.”

Carlisle City Council leader John Mallinson said: “A lot of people are saying it’s a bad time to do it, a number of those people would think it’s a bad time whenever it is proposed.

“We’ve been up and down this hill for 25 years that I know of.

He said: “I accept that we’re living in very difficult and challenging times but I do also believe that government has to go on.

“Now that we’ve started we need to press on with it.

“When we fought the Second World War it didn’t pause everything.”

Councillor Mallinson said: “We have been in discussions since February, it was started before the pandemic.”