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GOVERNMENT OFFICES RESPONSIBLE FOR£1.4BN OF REGIONAL FUNDING

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The£1.4bn annual budget for urban regeneration will be administered by ten new government regional offices, report...
The £1.4bn annual budget for urban regeneration will be administered by ten new government regional offices, reports the Financial Times (p11).

Each office will be headed by a senior civil servant who will act as regional director for the departments of employment, environment, transport, and trade and industry. They will administer more than £3bn a year of government programmes on behalf of each of the four government departments.

The offices will provide a single point of access to the fund for local authorities, businesses and voluntary bodies.

According to Birmingham's Labour leader, there is a 'democratic deficit' in what she calls 'regional government with neither answerability nor accountability'.

However, the new senior regional director for West Midland, David Ritchie, says that 'it is not about taking powers away from local government. It is about taking decisions down from Whitehall to a more local level.

Some critics believe that not enough has been done to merge Whitehall interests, and that an opportunity to create a 'super-ministry' has been missed.

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