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A new policy report from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES),...
A new policy report from the Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES),

boosts the debate around the Regional White Paper. Our Regions Our Choices:

Debating the future for the English regions, presents a 'variety of writers

who offer their own interpretation of the proposals, with the intention of

imagining the likely outcomes from the Regional White paper'. Running

throughout the policy paper are three key questions/issues:

'Can the agencies and people in the regions deliver and create effective

regional policy?'

'Will the take up of regional devolution and a divergence in regional policy

prove to be problematic?'

'Are we expecting too much from the Regional White Paper?

Emerging from a CLES event held in the summer, the joint editors of the

publication Neil McInroy (CLES) and Paul Benneworth (Centre for Urban and

Regional Development Studies, University of Newcastle) respond to the

flexibility in the White Paper by highlighting how at the end of the day, it

is up to the people in the regions. Offering a neutral space the policy

paper aims to 'to digest the detail and explore the questions that the White

Paper raises. This is crucial, because ultimately they are Our Regions and

Our Choices'. This publication as the deputy prime minister, John Prescott

highlights in the foreword 'represents a timely contribution to the debate'.

The publication includes an excellent introductory chapter to those new to

the debate, as well as drawing together a range of stakeholders from the

regions including academics, RDAs, unions and business. This produces a

policy paper that is both honest and open in the way it explores the issues.

Neil McInroy, policy director of CLES, said: 'The White Paper has been

launched nationally, but it is for our regions to decide. We need wide

ranging debates involving a full gamut of regional actors, thus ensuring

that we all have an informed understanding of the choices facing our


Paul Benneworth, research fellow at Newcastle University, said: 'The two

sides in this debate have not really yet engaged with each other. This

paper starts the debate allowing people to decide for themselves and make an

informed choice on devolution''

The full policy paper can be ordered from CLES (0161 236 7036 or email, price£15 (plus

£2.50 P+P).

An executive summary can be found on the CLES website.

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