Headlines: July 10th, 1998

The Conservative leader William Hague has attacked government plans for Regional Development Agencies as a cynical attempt to remove power from local government and move it centrally.

He told councillors at the Local Government Association conference that the members of these regional development agency would be appointed by the DETR and unaccountable to the public. Budgets would also be set nationally.

And he claimed their powers to acquire land and draw up business plans would be powers taken from councils.

In a speech in which he tried to rebuild relationships with local government, which felt beleaguered during the Conservative years in power, he supported an already published LGA bid for new powers and support for local government in a White Paper expected later this summer.