Nic Dakin, chair of the Association of Local Authorities, says:
'This is important, as a national focus doesn't always provide us with enough flexibility to respond to our local needs. Its publication will also encourage us to consider how local authorities can continue to develop their accountability to local communities, within the context of the region.'
The Yorkshire and Humber Association of Local Authorities was re-launched in October 2001. Since then it has been lobbying government for changes in the way funds are allocated to councils to ensure that the region gets its fair share of resources.
The ALA will be discussing the proposals in Your Region, Your Choice with Stephen Byers, secretary of state at the DTLR in Leeds at the end of May. The region's Association of Local Authorities will then debate the proposals at their annual general meeting in June.
Cllr Dakin added:
'The ALA has been working hard to ensure that consistently high quality services are provided across the region by local authorities. Despite this, it's clear that people are still not convinced that what happens in our town halls makes a positive difference to their lives.
The white paper will inevitably stimulate the debate about local democracy and accountability. In particular, it will allow people in the region, along with their elected representatives, the opportunity to look at where power and resources are best located - either in Westminster or here within the region.'
The Association of Local Authorities acts as the strategic body for local government within Yorkshire and Humber. Co-operating regionally, it works by:
Developing policies, lobbying to achieve them
Promoting democratic locally elected community leadership in the region
Maximising the influence of local government
Providing mutual support and assistance, sharing good practice and experience
Your Region, Your Choice
The Yorkshire and Humber Assembly has welcomed the much heralded white paper, Your Region, Your Choice - Revitalising the English Regions.
Peter Box, chair of the Yorkshire and Humber Assembly says:
'We welcome this white paper. We expect it to recognise the very significant progress made by assemblies, such as our own. It offers us the opportunity to debate arrangements that will strengthen the region's performance and the region's decision-making process.'
'Our role now is to work with all our partners in the public, private and voluntary sectors, and with people living and working in the region, to consider these options. There are wide ranging views on regional government in Yorkshire and Humber and it is important that we have a full and informed debate.'
Over the last two years the assembly has shown the strength of a co-ordinated partnership approach, lobbying for an additional£4m for flood defence; extra resources to aid the recovery of the rural economy following last year's outbreak of foot and mouth disease; and developing a strong role on regional planning and transport.
The assembly is holding a series of meetings, open to the public, to discuss these proposals for regional government.