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The Campaign for the English Regions today welcomed the government white paper on regional governance as a major co...
The Campaign for the English Regions today welcomed the government white paper on regional governance as a major contribution to enhancing democracy in the UK and a step forward in the debate taking place in the English regions.

CFER chair George Morran said:

'This is a historic moment. The publication of the White Paper signals for the first time a real commitment by a UK government to offer the people of the English regions the opportunity to take some responsibility for their own futures in a number of important areas of public policy. This white paper has the potential to address the very real concerns they have about the largely hidden, distant, incoherent and undemocratic existing structures in each region.

'CFER believes the white paper provides a starting point for the people in each region to express their views on the direction and pace at which they wish to move forward. We will use the time between now and any legislation to encourage as many people as possible to be involved in this consultation, and to lobby government to strengthen these proposals. We have no doubt that when referendums on devolution to the English regions are held they will be won.'

CFER has said to government that our ambition is that the five underlying principles for English devolution should be:

* A multi-speed approach with individual regions going at their own pace

* A flexible approach with that allows variations between regions to suit their unique needs

* A participative approach ensuring the widest participation in the process of change

* An evolutionary approach that leaves the door open to intelligent development of the new assemblies beyond the initial legislation and

* An inclusive approach that ensure the new assemblies are beacons of best practice for inclusive and participatory democracy

CFER believes that the white paper allows for the possibility for that ambition to be met.

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