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ENGLISH ELECTED ASSEMBLIES: 'POWERS WILL NOT DISAPPOINT' SAYS MINISTER

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At a meeting with regions minister, Nick Raynsford yesterday, English home rule campaigners welcomed the his statem...
At a meeting with regions minister, Nick Raynsford yesterday, English home rule campaigners welcomed the his statement that elected regional assemblies 'will have a statutory power to promote the economic, social and environmental welfare of their region'.

A Campaign For the English Regions (CFER) delegation presented Mr Raynsford with a copy of their latest report, Regions That Work produced jointly with the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU), the report sets out a range of powers which could be made available to elected assemblies to tackle the major economic, transport and social issues facing English region.

'The CFER delegation represented regions from across England, including the three Northern regions likely to vote for greater home rule later this year,' said CFER chair Phil Davis.

'We were very encouraged by Nick Raynsford's comments and particularly by the new reference to a power to promote this wider welfare of a region. While the government has to set out a particular package of powers later this year, voters have a clear choice. Our meeting shows they are listening to the continuing debate about what region can best do for themselves'.

The CFER-LGIU report is circulating widely amongst MPs and polls show that the North East, Yorkshire and Humberside and the North West are expected to vote for new home rule assemblies in referendums later this year, while not voting this year, the West Midlands and South West also have active devolution campaigns.

Mr Raynsford said 'he welcomed this report in keeping up the momentum for devolution and informing the vital referendum debate'.

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