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NO CHANGE STILL NO OPTION IN REGIONAL REFERENDA

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If people really are to have a choice over regional government in their ...
If people really are to have a choice over regional government in their

areas, then they must be given a 'no change' option, the Local Government

Association said today.

The association was responding to a government announcement that it has

accepted an amendment to its regional assemblies bill (see LGCnet). This would have the effect of allowing the Boundary Committee to recommend more than one option for unitary local government in a region undergoing a referendum for an elected regional government. The amendment leaves unchanged the notion that where regional assemblies are created in any area with both district and county councils, the local government structure in that area must be reorganised to leave one unitary council tier.

LGA chair Jeremy Beecham said:

'The Boundary Committee must be able to recommend the option of no change to

the current local government arrangements in an area. The requirement that

there must be unitary local government in any area choosing an elected

regional assembly goes against the government's intention to devolve power

from the centre. The LGA maintains that it should be left to local people

to decide what sort of local government structure should operate in their

region.'

The LGA is concerned that the bill as amended would not allow the Boundary

Committee to recommend the status quo even if this was the best and most

popular option. It would also require the committee to present more than one

option of unitary government even if there was clearly only one sensible

option.

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