Hopes of talks between council leaders and Government politicians about a single council for Cumbria have fallen flat, a meeting has been told.

In December, county council leader Stewart Young wrote to James Brokenshire MP, the Secretary of State for Local Government, asking to open negotiations on a unitary authority for the county.

But Cllr Young, the Labour leader, has complained that he has had “no response” to the letter which was sent seven weeks ago.

Cllr Young told a full council meeting: “I haven’t even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement to my letter.

“The ball is very firmly in the Government’s court. We have followed it up and will continue to follow it up.

“It is disappointing we haven’t had a response. I can only assume that it is entangled in the Brexit carry on in Westminster, and that’s why he hasn’t got round to it.”

Cumbria has a county council and six district councils in Allerdale, Barrow, Carlisle, Copeland, Eden and South Lakeland.

A “unitary authority” or “single council” process could involve Cumbria being run by either one or two new councils.

Cllr Young called on Labour county councillor Lord Liddle, who also sits in the House of Lords, to do what he could to raise the issue in Government.

“At the moment, we just don’t know where we are,” said Cllr Young.

Cllr James Airey, leader of the Conservative opposition, said the Government should intervene and “deliver unitary governance” to Cumbria.

Cllr Airey, the member for Ulverston West, said streamlining services and reducing costs would cut bureaucracy and was “significantly overdue”.

He said: “We believe we need a slimmer local Government structure with better value for local residents, fewer highly-paid officers, and fewer councillors.

“We need to use residents’ council tax more efficiently and effectively and not waste it. A unitary authority in some shape or form will help us deliver this.”

Cllr Airey claimed that district council leaders against the proposals were “protecting their own position” rather than “looking to the future for residents.”

“Government must now act,” said Cllr Airey.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for a response.