One huge administrative authority to cover the whole of North Yorkshire has been dismissed as "crazy" and would not receive Government support, councillors have been told.

Members of the county council’s Conservative-controlled executive committee said they recognised the potential for savings by replacing the county council and seven existing district and borough councils with just one unitary authority.

But they refused to back a proposal by UKIP councillors to go to the Government with the plan.

Coun. Gareth Dadd said: ”This authority is facing challenges that we have never faced before and we have a job to do.

"Bearing in mind the difficulties we face it would become a flight of fantasy to pursue a proposal Eric Pickles has already said he won’t consider.

"We are wasting time in futile exercises for those who don’t have anything constructive to offer as we try to deliver the savings we need over the next five years.”

Coun. Carl Les said there would be little prospect of agreement with the district and borough councils on a unitary authority.

He added: ”At this challenging time now is not the time to distract councils from working more efficiently and effectively together for the benefit of all our residents.”

UKIP councillors David Simister and Sam Cross, who did not attend the meeting, put forward the proposal.

Speaking earlier, Coun. Simister said: "It is a very serious and sensible option which would save taxpayers an absolute fortune because you would wipe out a huge swathe of bureaucracy .

“I think the county council should put this to taxpayers, they should have a referendum and see what the people say.

"One large council would only need one chief executive instead of eight and one set of directors instead of eight.

"We could even have the area split into two authorities with the A1 as the main boundary if one council was too big."

Coun Mark Robson, Tory leader of Hambleton District Council said it made no sense and would be too big and too distant from residents.

“I am absolutely and totally against this. We have had no council tax increase for the past four years and we have not reduced services.

“Having one huge council would just be crazy, the residents would most certainly suffer."