Councils sceptical of regional forums

Almost 75 per cent of councils believe that elected regional
assemblies will reduce local government’s power.

However, the Local Government Association poll reveals that only
one-third believe that regional assemblies would mean a significant
devolution of power from central government to the regions.

More than half of England’s councils expect regional assemblies to
lead to more effective regional governance.

Commenting on the survey’s findings, LGA chairperson Jeremy Beecham
said: “If regional assemblies are to be set up, their powers must
be cascaded down from Whitehall not taken away from local

The government’s white paper on regional assemblies was published
in May 2002. The Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill has now
received Royal Assent and 42 per cent of local authorities believe
there will be an elected regional assembly in their region by 2007,
although this varies significantly according to region.

The LGA survey also finds that more than 75 per cent of councils
have an excellent or good relationship with their government office
for the region and almost two-thirds are happy with their
relationship with their regional development agency.

Almost half believe the government offices for the region will play
a successful role in supporting the community cohesion agenda under
government plans to give them extra responsibilities.

– Regional Governance from 020 7664 3000.

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