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Pickles moves to abolish government offices

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All of England’s eight regional government offices will be scrapped, communities secretary Eric Pickles has confirmed.

In a statement, Mr Pickles said the government would “abolish” the eight regional government offices, “subject to the satisfactory resolution of consequential issues through the spending review”.

He said the arrangements for closure and for the transfer of on-going functions of the government offices would be announced at the end of the spending review in the autumn

Mr Pickles said that the “original intentions” of the government offices for the regions to join up different departmental teams outside London into a one stop shop “have been lost”. “Such functions are no longer necessary in an internet age and given the coalition government’s commitment to genuine decentralisation and devolution of power,” he said.

Mr Pickles added that some government office functions, such as arrangements for resilience and civil contingencies would need to continue, with the spending review process to be used “to test which activities currently carried out by the government offices should continue, and to decide the most cost-effective on-going arrangements”.

He added: “We should be clear: the Government Offices are not voices of the region in Whitehall. They have become agents of Whitehall to intervene and interfere in localities, and are a fundamental part of the ‘command and control’ apparatus of England’s over-centralised state”.

The government has already announced plans to scrap the Government Office for London.

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