Latest Ebulletin

Welcome to the latest e-bulletin from the Campaign for the English Regions.

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With a further demonstration of the high level of popular support for regional government, CFER today published an advert in the Guardian newspaper listing just some of the supporters of regional devolution. They have come together to declare that the regions should have the right to choose regional government, and to demand that legislation should be enacted early in the new Parliament.

Signatories include 81 MPs (including Minister Joyce Quin, former Ministers Tony Lloyd, Derek Foster and David Clarke, and 7 chairs of Commons Select Committees), 14 MEPs (including the leaders of both the Lib Dem and Labour groups), four bishops, two chairs of Regional Chambers, a number of council leaders and a number of notable public figures – including playwright Alan Plater, actor Tony Robinson and television presenter Terry Christian.

More details are available on request.

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The Government have accepted that the regional tier of government is inadequately scrutinised, and have made £5m available to Regional Chambers to enhance their scrutiny role.

Some regional chambers have been operating on a shoe-string, and their ability to scrutinise RDAs has been very limited. Therefore this decision is welcome. Nevertheless, CFER believes you will not have real accountability and proper scrutiny without democratically elected Regional Assemblies.

The Government are consulting on its proposals, and a consultation document – ‘Strengthening Regional Accountability’ – is available at www.local-regions.detr.gov.uk/consult/strength/index.htm

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New figures released by the Office of National Statistics show that the North-South divide is growing. While GDP per head – one of the best measures of wealth – in 1999 moved above £ 10,000 for the first time, the difference between the wealthiest and poorest regions is growing.

London’s GDP per head of £16,900 is 70% higher than that in Northern Ireland (£10,100) or the North East (£10,000). The fastest growing region was the South East at 5.1%, while the slowest was the North East at 2.3%. The three northern regions grew at 3.2%, while the 3 regions in the ‘winner’s circle’ in the South grew at 4.5%.

More information – with regional breakdowns – is available at www.statistics.gov.uk/pdfdir/rgdp0201.pdf – this is a .pdf file – help with .pdf files

Posted in CFER News