Regions set for services restructure

Social services will not be included in the
proposed regional assemblies, the government said last week.

However, those areas that vote
for the assemblies will see a radical shake-up of local government
structure with the creation of unitary authorities that will
combine responsibility for social services, education, and housing.
These unitary authorities will replace the existing county and
district councils.

regional assemblies will have limited tax-raising powers and have
responsibility for strategic planning, economic development,
transport and housing strategy, public health, skills and

Responsibility for the Regional
Development Agencies will transfer to the assemblies from
Whitehall. The agencies will continue to develop regional economic

Whatever happens in the
referendums, the regional government offices will be given stronger
powers, including an enhanced role in crime reduction and drugs, a
new role in supporting the Home Office’s “community cohesion”
agenda and will work closely with regional public health


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