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REGIONALISATION: DISTRICTS FIGHT BACK OVER REGIONAL ASSEMBLY THREAT

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Districts have hit out at suggestions that directly elected regional assemblies could make them redundant. ...
Districts have hit out at suggestions that directly elected regional assemblies could make them redundant.
Responding to hints from local government minister Hilary Armstrong that districts might not survive regionalisation (LGC, 18 May), Wychavon DC leader Malcolm Miekele (Con) said: 'If you are merely going to leave the counties as they are, it would be a stab in the back to local democracy.
'If someone has a problem with their refuse they don't want an authority of 500,000 people. They certainly don't want county control over planning decisions.
'Having said that I wouldn't rule out unitary authorities. As far as Worcester is concerned personally we supported the unitary principle, one in North Worcestershire and one in South Worcestershire.'
Kerrier DC member Pat Aston (Lib Dem) said: 'Regional government is about devolving powers from central government, not pulling local services towards a regional authority.
'Districts are fulfiling their role in local government, they're closer to the people, everybody tends to know where you are.
'District councils have been into economic development long before the government said you must have social, environmental and economic well-being. We're not as isolated as we used to be - many districts work together.'
New Local Government Network chair Professor Gerry Stoker said the Labour manifesto commitment to regional government was stronger than expected and re-organisation was clearly 'on the table'.
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