In our first two months in government we have demonstrated our commitment to localism, decentralisation and rolling back regional government in England. We have announced the abolition of Regional Development Agencies, abolished the Regional Strategies, ended funding for the Regional Leaders’ Boards (the successors to the Regional Assemblies) and are closing the Government Office for London.
CLG published its Structural Reform Plan today, picked out the two headline dates regarding the regional tier. The document replace “the old, top-down systems of targetsand central micromanagement”. Central government will only retain oversight over local authorities in “exceptional areas”.
Fieldwork is up and running on the project now so I don’t have as much time as I would like to analyse the new stuff coming out of Whitehall at the moment. The document is quite short; comments welcome on the mentions given to energy efficiency and sustainable development, or anything else that takes your fancy. All help gratefully appreciated
Prior to next week’s Emergency Budget, Chief Secretary Danny Alexander has just made a special announcement on cuts made to spending agreed since the beginning of the year. Amongst the high-profile programmes, loans and capital projects being axed are the Local Authority Leaders’ Boards.Although not its only raison d’etre, the Boards’ disappearance isn’t particularly surprising following the abolition of Regional Strategies, which they were to collaborate on with Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). Although its early days in the Cameron Government, it’s clear that regional tier organisations are being swept away pretty rapidly. leaving questions on the fate of RDAs and the Government Office network. The Conservatives have spoken approvingly of local authority collaboration in the past, but this announcement signals a further step towards the dismantling of the regions which have formed the? framework for collaboration under Labour.
Put simply, authorities can collaborate in whatever way they wish…but must find the funds themselves.