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RDAs COME INTO BEING NEXT WEEK

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On 1 April the UK, one of the most centralised states in the EU, will officially become a nation of regions, with t...
On 1 April the UK, one of the most centralised states in the EU, will officially become a nation of regions, with the formation of eight regional development agencies, reports The Guardian (Society, p9).

The RDAs will have six months to submit strategies to Richard Caborn, minister for the regions, on how they plan to 'move the wealth creation agenda forward ... that will be their passport to continuing devolution of power and to having influence in Whitehall'.

In the meantime, parallel regional chambers of councillors and businesspeople - possible forerunners of full-blown regional government - have been formed in the eight regions. While acting as advisory bodies to the RDAs, Mr Caborn says, they could also be given powers to oversee transport and strategic planning.

But the process of seeting up the RDAs has not been easy and one key government advisor has said: 'The whole process of transferring activities to regional bodies has been a little bit more complex than people at the centre anticipated.

'Turning the Whitehall machine around a few degrees and getting it to face the regions takes a bit of doing, but there is no doubt there is ministerial commitment,' he adds.
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