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The government's plans to abolish England's shire counties were exposed last night by Labour minister, Lord Falcone...
The government's plans to abolish England's shire counties were exposed last night by Labour minister, Lord Falconer. In a debate in the lords, he conceded that regional government would result in the abolition of one of the tiers of local government*.

Malcolm Moss, shadow minister for local government & the regions, said:

'The cat is out of the bag. Labour's plans for regional assemblies will mean the abolition of England's historic shire counties. Rather than devolving responsibilities to local communities, Labour are going to transfer power to a new tier of regional politicians.

'The government must now tell the public how much such restructuring will cost - it could be as much as£2 billion. As ever, taxpayers' money is being wasted on bureaucracy and red tape, rather than improving Britain's crumbling public services.'


* see LGCnetfor further details.

Lord Falconer told the house of lords last night: 'I do not know the precise estimate of cost in relation to expenditure on a regional assembly As to whether there should be two-tier authorities, in some cases it is not right that there should be. That is something which needs to be looked at particularly in the context of where there is a regional assembly. If one has a regional assembly and two other tiers that looks to be too many' (HL Debs, c.368, 12 November 2001).

During the last local government reorganisation, Humberside CC (John Prescott's local council) spent£53m (1999 figures) in one-off reorganisation administrative costs. Using Humberside as a benchmark figure, abolishing the remaining 34 county councils could cost up to£1.8bn.

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