LGA boosts anti-assembly effort

The Local Government Association (LGA) has stepped up its lobbying activity in response to the recent Draft Regional Government Bill.

The campaign seeks to influence the Government’s devolution agenda in an attempt to ensure that local government does not lose its powers to the proposed regional assemblies.

The campaign, led by outgoing LGA director of comms and strategy Phil Swann, claims regional assemblies will act as an extension of central government.

The body will submit written and oral evidence to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) Select Committee at the end of August.

The bill will then go back to the House of Commons for further debate before key LGA staff meet Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to discuss ‘concerns about the regional devolution agenda’.

LGA project officer Ian Twine said: ‘Councils cannot influence debate because it is up to local people to say what structure of governance they want. Whitehall has yet to demonstrate that multi-layered governance cannot work.’

If given the go-ahead, the ODPM’s proposed regional assemblies would be created to cover Yorkshire and the Humber, the North-East and the North-West.

A referendum originally due to take place in November has been rescheduled in two regions following concerns about fraudulent postal voting. The poll in the North-East will still go ahead on 4 November.

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