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'ALL ENGLISH REGIONS WANT A VOTE'

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An academic study published today* has found that all of the English ...
An academic study published today* has found that all of the English

regions could win a referendum on elected regional government.

The study completed by Charlie Jeffery, director of the Economic and Socal Research Council's Devolution and Constitutional Change programme, analyses the responses to the government's soundings process conducted to assess the level of interest in holding referendums in the regions.

Campaign for the English Regions chair George Morran said:

'This news is a terrific boost for the campaign. The report

finds that the majority of people that intend to vote in the three Northern

referendums next year will vote yes. It also clearly demonstrates that the

idea of taking more decisions in the regions and less in Whitehall has

resonance in all the English regions, not just in the North. People, in the

Midlands, the North and the South, want a vote on elected assemblies. This

report puts a new question to the government - when can we expect

referendums in other regions?'

CFER note that the report reveals that the existing institutions in the

regions are less enthusiastic for devolution than the general public.

Mr Morran said: 'It is hardly surprising that those with a direct interest

in the status quo are resistant to change - turkeys don't vote for Christmas!'

CFER will use the outcome of this research to press the government for a

clear timetable for a second wave of referendums at least in the West

Midlands and other interested regions by 2006.

* The report referred to 'The English Regions Debate; What do the English

Regions want?' Briefing paper no 3 for the Economic and Research programmme

on Devolution and Change.

For more information on the programme visit here.

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