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Letter: The UK Needs New Regionalisation

Published on: 14 Mar, 2024
Updated on: 15 Mar, 2024

From: David Roberts

In response to: LEP Move Shows SCC Still Wants to Absorb District & Borough Councils

What goes around comes around. I expect we’ll see a return to regional planning under a Labour government.

I worked closely with the South-East of England Development Agency (SEEDA), which seemed pretty effective to me. It was based in Guildford, then honorary capital of a big South-East region stretching from Dover to Banbury. Other such agencies, notably those for the North-West (in Manchester) and East of England (Cambridge) were in my experience very dynamic.

Many politicians, of course, condemned them as unelected quangos. But John Prescott’s attempt to set up an elected assembly to oversee the North-East Development Agency was rejected there in a local referendum.

The UK is uniquely over-centralised. All comparable countries have rational regional structures imposed top-down.

Despite public incomprehension, I found the embryonic idea of nine similar-sized English regions an attractive solution to England’s unbalanced preponderance within a devolved UK, and certainly neater than the haphazard patchwork of autonomous city and other regions that leaves Surrey and leftover parts of the country stuck with complicated old local government structures designed in the 1970s.

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Responses to Letter: The UK Needs New Regionalisation

  1. Jules Cranwell Reply

    March 14, 2024 at 3:04 pm

    I could not agree more. The German Länder and French préfecture work extremely well, and allow focus on what the residents of each region wants and needs. About time we had this in the UK.

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