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LABOUR'S REGIONAL GOVERNMENT PROPOSALS 'RAG BAG OF PROPOSALS'

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Shadow chancellor Gordon Brown told BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning that Labour would introduce 'demo...
Shadow chancellor Gordon Brown told BBC Radio Four's Today programme this morning that Labour would introduce 'democratic accountability' for regional government in England 'where there was demand for it'.

Mr Brown said Labour's decentralisation plans responded to widespread public dissatisfaction with the 'out of touch government' and the growth of the quango state.

In England 'there is concern in the regions about the loss of powers of local government over recent years', Mr Brown said.

Regional government already exists, through the government's regional offices, but the public doesn't know about them and they must be made democratic, Mr Brown said.

The north of England, for example, wants a northern development agency, he said: 'The argument grows that there should be a democratic framework within which that happens.'

Mr Brown told the programme: 'As far as England is concerned, we want to apply the principle of subsidiarity...and where there is a demand for change we will respond to it'.

But he denied that policy could mean there would be regional government fo some parts of England and not others

Welsh secretary John Redwood, interviewed on Today, said the Labour party had no idea what its proposals meant for England.

'It's a rag bag of proposals, with some assemblies and parliaments having more powers than others', Mr Redwood said. 'People in Scotland and Wales would have to pay extra tax for the privilege of living there and would have to obey extra laws and regulations'.

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