Regional government up for debate
EAST Anglians are to be given the chance to tell the government exactly what they think of plans for regional government in this part of the country.The government is trying to find out whether people in the east of England – stretching from Cromer on the north Norfolk coast to Watford in Hertfordshire – want to hold a referendum on the subject.
By Paul Geater
EAST Anglians are to be given the chance to tell the government exactly what they think of plans for a regional assembly.
The government is trying to find out whether people in the east of England – stretching from Cromer on the north Norfolk coast to Watford in Hertfordshire – want to hold a referendum on the subject.
As prime minister Tony Blair told The Evening Star earlier this year: "If you don't want it, don't have it!"
You may also want to watch:
Now local government minister Nick Raynsford has indicated that people in the region are to be given the chance to say whether they want a referendum on regional government.
This would almost certainly spell the end for the historic counties. Instead a smaller number of district councils would undertake all local government functions not sent to the regional assembly.
- 1 'Beautiful inside and out': Tragedy as mum dies 48 hours after giving birth
- 2 More than £23k raised in memory of mum who died 2 days after giving birth
- 3 Woman threatened to expose lorry driver's sexual relationship
- 4 Developers offer first view of 75 new homes near Ipswich
- 5 New walking trail explores 'key role' Suffolk played in Anglo-Saxon history
- 6 What happened to Luke Durbin? Mum's renewed appeal 15 years after teenager vanished in Ipswich
- 7 'Teaching means the world' - school in Ipswich unveils new deputy head
- 8 Thieves use bank cards after stealing rucksack from Ipswich doorstep
- 9 'Larger-than-life' Ipswich drama teacher Gloria Henshall dies
- 10 Ipswich Town reveal full retained list as six first-teamers get extended stays and eight depart
Police, fire, health services, transport and strategic planning would probably all be handled on a regional basis.
The Evening Star outlined our objections to regional government earlier this year – the belief it will make "local" decisions even more remote from the people they affect.
And by making the region so large, the government is trying to create an identity that simply does not exist.
People from Suffolk may share common interests with those from Norfolk and north Essex, but have nothing in common with those from Hertfordshire or Bedfordshire.
Most people from Suffolk know London far better than they know other regional centres like Luton, Peterborough, Southend or Chelmsford.
But this has not dissuaded Mr Raynsford, who said: "Elected regional assemblies will give people in the region their own distinct political voice and a real say over decisions that matter to them."
But he did acknowledge that there could be opposition to the proposals.
He said: "We have no intention of forcing elected assemblies on any region. We believe people should be given the opportunity to make that choice."