white paper on regional governance, 'Your Region - Your Choice:
Revitalising the English Regions'. At the heart of this radical look
at regional policy is the proposal to establish directly elected
The white paper will strengthen regional policy across the country
and provide regions with the opportunity to decide whether they wish
to have elected regional assemblies.
Deputy prime minister John Prescott said:
'The creation of regional assemblies will signal the re-birth of
political life across England. Our vision of regional governance is
an opportunity for change and giving people the choice to make that
'This will be the conclusion of a political dream I have held for
decades. Giving the regions their own democratic voice and the chance
to improve their economic performance, delivering jobs, prosperity
and better public services.
'This white paper builds on the success of devolution to Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland. It is right that we offer the people of
England the benefits and opportunities that devolution has brought
elsewhere in the UK. We have worked hard to decentralise power and
decision-making and this is the next step in that process.'
The white paper proposes to:
- strengthen the building blocks for economic growth in all regions
- improve co-ordination of policy in the regions
- ensure that regional variations in priorities are recognised
For regions that want to go further there is the choice of
establishing elected regional assemblies that will:
- bring decision making closer to the people
- improving effectiveness and efficiency by offering tailored
solutions that meet the particular needs of their region
- have specific responsibility for economic development,
regeneration, spatial development, housing, transport, skills and
Alongside the deputy prime minister, the secretary of state for
transport, local government and the regions, Stephen Byers added his
support to the opportunities the White Paper will bring to the
Mr Byers said:
'For the first time this White Paper fully acknowledges the
importance and strength of the English regions. It celebrates their
potential to transform our national life.
'Our success as a nation depends on every region achieving its
potential. The English regions were once the powerhouses of our
economy and our proposals offer them the opportunity of building on
their strengths. This White Paper is, therefore, relevant to all
regions and not just those where people choose to vote for regional
'After decades of neglect, we are placing the regions at the heart of
our policies to create a more prosperous and inclusive society. This
means giving the regions the powers they need to succeed.'
Mr Byers also emphasised that much had already been done for the
'We have already done a lot to devolve decision-making to the regions
by, for example, setting up the regional development agencies and
giving them more funding and responsibility. Our White Paper takes
this agenda forward by devolving more powers to all regions and
giving them a greater say in policy making. It gives regions the
opportunity to choose an elected assembly with real powers to make a
difference on issues like jobs, housing, planning and transport.'
1. The DTLR will take forward the implementation of the white paper.
2. The white paper is available here
3. Copies are available from The Stationary Office. Order Line:
08457 023474, Email: email@example.com and internet:
4. The free summary is available from DTLR Free Literature.
Telephone: 0870 1226 236, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org