Headlines: August 1st, 2002

The Government has spelled out the consultation process for introducing directly elected regional assemblies for the regions of England.Offered in the White Paper ‘Your Region; Your Choice – Revitalising the English Regions’, the Government now says that whether to introduce such a tier of Government will be heavily influenced by the people of those regions.

The steps are:

– formal consultation of all eight regions – including regional chambers, local authorities, MPs and other key stakeholders. Ministers will also take into account relevant opinion polls

– the level of interest in holding a referendum will be a key factor. The potential for distraction from other local government business will be an important secondary factor where interest in a referendum is inconclusive

– the decision will ultimately be one for Ministers’ judgement. The decision will be explained to Parliament and a summary of the views received will be published.

Though the job of setting up the regional assemblies for England has gone to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, who supports the proposals, it’s been made clear that each region will make its own decision.

Background link: www.regions.odpm.gov.uk/governance/whitepaper/index.htm