West Midlands NO!

Regional government: unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable and unwanted

Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Poll on City Region

Posted by wonkotsane on December 16, 2006

Telford Council Watch have a poll on whether you know what the city region is and whether you know how it affects you.

If you live in Telford, take a look and cast your vote.

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Regional Government not working

Posted by wonkotsane on November 16, 2006

A report called the Competitive Index has the West Midlands euroregion dropping to seventh out of the 12 euroregions in the UK.

Clearly the vast, unelected, taxpayer-funded regional bureaucracy isn’t working.  The economy of the West Midlands euroregion is obviously not in good hands.

Bizarrely, the author of the report believes the answer to this ineffective regional government is … more regional government!

You couldn’t make it up.

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Electoral Commission goes regional

Posted by wonkotsane on November 1, 2006

The Electoral Commission, the supposedly independent organisation charged with protecting democracy and fair and unbiased elections, has gone regional.

They are advertising various taxpayer-funded posts under the banner “Reaching out the English Regions“.

Bit by bit, the governance of England is being regionalised.  It is being done stealthily and with no reference to the public.  This is not democracy.

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No Mayor for City Region

Posted by wonkotsane on October 18, 2006

As mentioned way back when this blog was first started, the sole concession to democracy in the City Region plans was the possibility of an elected mayor.

Now even this nominal token of democracy has been nipped in the bud with Birmingham City Council and others deciding to veto plans by the British government to insist on elected mayors instead of unelected executive boards.

Paul Tilsley MBE, a councillor for the pro-regions Liberal Demcorats, said “Ministers have rejected the idea of any compulsive element to elected mayors, and that’s a good step because there’s been no support at all for this in Birmingham or any of the ‘core cities’.”

What Councillor Tilsley fails to point out is that there is no support at all for the whole city region idea period, not just the elected mayor bit.  I defy anyone to claim that this expensive, unelected regional white elephant will ever attempt to make itself accountable or democratic.

Full Story: icBirmingham

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Regional Identity

Posted by wonkotsane on October 15, 2006

With all this regional government doing such wonderful work in the “region” for so many years, you’d think that there would be a pretty strong West Midlands regional identity.

I think local radio is a good indication of identity.  There are quite a few West Midlands radio stations – BBC Radio WM, BRMB, Heart FM, etc.  But what about Shropshire?  In a “region” comprising mostly of urban sprawl including England’s second city, who do Salopians identify with?

Whilst driving across Telford the other day I scanned through the available FM radio stations in search of a break from the irritating American DJ on my station of choice, Kerrang.  I picked up no less than 4 Welsh radio stations, 4 Shropshire radio stations and probably the same number of region-wide radio stations.

This is surely another example of the falicy of the “one size fits all” regional mentality?

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BBC Politics Show

Posted by wonkotsane on October 15, 2006

The BBC Politics Show has been running pieces on the regional quango’s in the various “regions” of England.  Strangely, the “regions” that have an anti-regional campaign group active – the North East and the West Midlands – have different subjects.

Co-incidence?

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UKIP conference

Posted by wonkotsane on October 12, 2006

Last sunday I paid a visit to the UKIP conference in Telford to meet their “regions expert”, John Kelly.

John is very knowledgeable on the subject or the euroregions and is actively taking fighting his local regional assembly.  He has been refusing to pay part of his council tax until the council proves that they have a legal right to give that money to an unelected regional government – the law says “no taxation without representation”.  This is, sadly, in stark contrast with the Conservative MP’s in the West Midlands who have all offered words of support to the West Midlands NO! campaign and stated their objections to regional government but want to wait until they are in government before they actually do anything.  It’s disappointing but that’s another story.

When John asked me what I thought UKIP might be able to do to help the campaign I asked him what UKIP were actually doing to oppose regional government.  His answer was “not enough”.  He then introduced me to Mike Natrass, the UKIP MEP for the West Midlands.  John and Mike had a chat about the regions and decided that UKIP would get together a committee and construct a policy for opposing the regions.

West Midlands NO! is awaiting the details of UKIP’s anti-regional policy with baited breath and is proud to have influenced their direction in a small way.

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Evidence of unaccountability in City Region

Posted by wonkotsane on October 5, 2006

Dr Simon Murphy, the Director of the unelected City Region Partnership, has forwarded two letters on to West Midlands NO! regarding the City Region.

The letters are in response to our question as to whether the Borough of Telford & Wrekin considered that spending £10,000 on consultants to choose a name for the City Region and then ignoring that advice to choose a name that was immediately criticised was value for money.    They don’t answer the question in the slightest but they are certainly interesting letters.

The first letter is from Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government, asking for more information on the City Region.  One question related to accountability of the executive board of the City Region, one of the major concerns of West Midlands NO!

The second letter is from Dr Simon Murphy to Ruth Kelly answering her questions, including the one of accountability.  In this letter, Dr Murphy explains that the executive board of the City Region will be held accountable to the unelected West Midlands Regional Assembly.  He goes on to explain that the City Region may hold “question time” type public meetings where information will be given to the public.

This is totally unacceptable and does not hold the City Region accountable at all.  The unelected City Region will be held accountable to the unelected Regional Assembly who answer directly to government ministers and the unelected EU Committee of Regions.  Members of the public will not be able to get information from the City Region or to hold them to account for anything they do.  One of our biggest concerns is that of accountability and it is evident that we are right to be concerned.

We will, of course, be writing to Ruth Kelly to ask her whether she considers the level of accountability planned by the City Region to be acceptable and why she has failed to mention the lack of a referendum or public consultation.

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John Maples MP opposes regional government

Posted by wonkotsane on October 4, 2006

As promised, we contacted all the Conservative MP’s in the West Midlands yesterday to ask them if they will be opposing the West Midlands Regional Assembly following David Cameron’s speech at the Conservative Party Conference.

With it being the conference week we didn’t really expect a very quick response but all credit to Alcester MP, John Maples who managed to fire off a quick reply to us early this afternoon.

I have consistently opposed Regional Assemblies, but they are government policy and I do not see how we could change the situation in the West Midlands.

If you have any specific ideas on how we might achieve this, please let me know as I might well be happy to support them. I fear that we shall have to await a Conservative Government.

We have responded to Mr Maples with some ideas, if you live in his constituency perhaps you might like to speak to him and see what you can come up with between you.

It appears that at least two West Midlands MP’s – John Maples and Daniel Kawczynski – are willing to make a stand against regional government.  As and when we hear from other MP’s we’ll keep you posted.

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Official launch brings some success

Posted by wonkotsane on October 2, 2006

Today’s official launch of West Midlands NO! has brought some success for the campaign.

As well as another offer of assistance from a member of the public, we have been mentioned in the local press and I have been offered a meeting with an MP.

Launching on the first day of the Conservative Party conference was never going to grab the headlines but it’s an encouraging start.

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Who is Dr Simon Murphy?

Posted by wonkotsane on October 2, 2006

Dr Simon Murphy is the director of the City Region Partnership and a driving force behind the city region project but who is he?

Unsurprisingly, he isn’t elected to this or any other position.  Dr Simon Murphy is a former MEP who resigned his position as leader of Labour’s MEP’s because of the stresses on his family life of flying to Strasbourg but bravely soldiered on as an MEP for another 2 years (flying to Strasbourg for 6 months of the year and Brussells for the other 6).  It has been suggested that this was to guarantee his taxpayer-funded gold-plated EU pension although we wouldn’t like to speculate.

In 2003 he was appointed as a “Trade Champion” for the unelected quango, Advantage West Midlands, where his priority was to get the EU working for the West Midlands.  This taxpayer-funded position was, naturally, unelected.  He has also served as a board member for the West Midland Development Agency, another unelected taxpayer-funded quango.

Dr Simon Murphy is a keen European Federalist and was heavily involved in the UK’s preparation for the Euro.

This information is all readily available on the internet, what qualifies him for this particular project has yet to be discovered.

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City Region Pathfinder Status

Posted by wonkotsane on October 2, 2006

The unelected city region, before the final plans have been drawn up or the organisation created, has been given Pathfinder Status by the British government.

The Pathfinder Project was set up by John Prescott and has proven to be one of the most controversial Labour policies since they first came to power in 1997.

In a nutshell, authorities with Pathfinder Status can – in the name of “regeneration” – compulsary purchase entire housing estates and demolish them to build new houses.  This is a simplistic view of course and houses cannot simply be compulsary purhcased on a whim but to my knowledge there have been no refusals for Pathfidner Projects elsewhere in the country and it is a flagship Labour policy.

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Official Launch

Posted by wonkotsane on October 2, 2006

Today sees the official launch of the West Midlands NO! campaign.

We have been contacted by local press and an MP today so hopefully this will give vital publicity to the campaign.

Today is probably the best day to re-iterate what the campaign is about and why the regional government already in place and planned for the future is so bad.

The West Midlands NO! campaign is opposed to the unelected, undemocratic regional government in place in the West Midlands.

Regional government has been with us here in the West Midlands for quite a few years now and despite having wide-ranging powers which should rightly be held be elected representatives, no effort has been made to raise the profile of any of the regional bodies or to engage or involve the public in their work.  About the only regional quango that makes any effort to publicise its existence is Advantage West Midlands (AWM).

AWM is an unelected regional quango responsible for distributing funding in the West Midlands euroregion.  As possibly the only quango that gives away more money than it costs to run it is hardly surprising that it is the only one publicised!

Funding from the EU is distributed on a regional basis via these regional quango’s, as is an increasing amount of UK government funding.  The quango’s responsible for this funding are unelected and unaccountable to taxpayers.

Regional quango’s such as the West Midlands Regional Assembly (WMRA) make decisions affecting the daily lives of over a million people yet they are unelected and immune from the Freedom of Information Act meaning they are not obliged to provide information to the public.

The West Midlands NO! campaign was prompted by the City Region proposal which is simply a step too far.

There is little or no support for regional government in England and the West Midlands is no exception.  Based on the referendum result for the North East Regional Assembly which had the strongest support for regional government in England, less than a fifth of the people in the West Midlands are in favour of regional government.  We believe this figure would be less if any effort were made by those concerned to find out.

The City Region will comprise most of the urban areas of the West Midlands euroregion and will take over much of the responsibility of WMRA.  Local authorities and elected councillors involved in the City Region will become subservient to an unelected regional government based in Birmingham.  Important decisions will be taken by unelected representatives on the executive of the City Region who have no experience of local or regional government or any knowledge of the region.

Despite being such a major change to local government, no consultations or referenda have been organised to find out if this is what the people of the West Midlands want.  There is nothing stopping local authorities from holding referenda – there is even a precedent as seen in the North East euroregion – but the local authorities, knowing that there is very little chance that they would get a “yes” vote, refuse to engage the public.

We believe that this is wrong.  Important decisions should be made with the consent and approval of the electorate, not behind closed doors. in secret committees.  We demand that a referendum be held in each local authority involved before any more decisions are made or – most importantly – before any more taxpayers money is spent on this project.

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Unelected Business Leaders on City Region Executive Board

Posted by wonkotsane on October 1, 2006

A group consisting of business leaders in Birmingham and the Chambers of Commerce for the West Midlands euroregion has been offered a place on the executive board of the city region.

These business leaders have never been elected to a local authority and are not subject to scrutiny by any electorate yet they will be able to make or affect decisions on such important policy areas as planning, environment and health in the city region.

The whole board of the city region will be undemocratic and unrepresentative with members insulated from the responsibility that an elected representative has to serve their constituents.

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£10k spent on consultants to decide City Region name

Posted by wonkotsane on October 1, 2006

The local authorities involved in the Birmingham, Black Country & Coventry City Region spent £10,000 on consultants to come up with a name and then ignored the recommendations of the consultants and chose their own name.

What a complete waste of taxpayers money.  The £10,000 could have paid half the salary of a nurse, police officer, fireman or teacher but instead it was wasted on consultants to decide a name for a city region that nobody wants and whose advice was ignored.

The name of the city region has been criticised by business leaders with the Chairman of the West Midlands branch of the Institute of Directors saying “This is a decision of mind-blowing stupidity. The name has no merit and is totally unacceptable. It is the worst of all possible compromises and will not sell the region abroad.”

The city region is supposed to be raising the profile of the region and attracting investment and funding yet even in choosing the name, the local authorities have shown themselves to be incapable of making the city region concept work.

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A Quango is born

Posted by wonkotsane on September 29, 2006

A new quango will officially come into being on Monday by the name of Telford First.

Telford First is a joint venture between Telford & Wrekin Borough Council and Advantage West Midlands, the unelected regional quango responsible for millions of pounds worth of taxpayers money.

Telford First will take over land in the borough currently owned by English Partnerships and will take over the work fo the Telford Development Agency.

Despite Telford First not actually officially existing or, indeed, having any work to do whilst the Telford Development Agency is still doing its job, the quango has managed to appoint a Chief Executive and staff who have been receiving significant salaries courtesy of the taxpayer.

The Telford Development Agency cost taxpayers £96k to run last year, Telford First cost £1.3m.

Advantage West Midlands’ involvement in the new agency is likely to divert vital funding from rural services in Shropshire and Staffordshire to the Borough of Telford & Wrekin.

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WMRA takes on affordable rural housing

Posted by wonkotsane on September 19, 2006

West Midlands Regional assembly (WMRA), the secretive unelected regional government already established in the West Midlands, has decided to tackle the problem of a lack of affordable housing in rural areas.

This is a real problem that needs addressing, I agree, but I question their judgement in appointing a Birmingham City Councillor to deal with rural affairs.  Rural communities differ wildly in their needs and you can’t offer a single one-size-fits-all solution.  This problem is best tackled by local authorities who understand the needs of their local rural communities, not by a city councillor trying to devise a regional strategy for something he can’t understand.

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Council Baiting

Posted by wonkotsane on September 1, 2006

I was a busy bee this afternoon trying to find out what work it is that the city region is going to be doing as nobody seems to have been able (or willing) to tell me before.  First stop Telford & Wrekin Council.

Called T&W Council and the switchboard operator put me through to a bewildered Leisure Services person who then referred me to the PR office.  The lady at the PR office told me that there are only two people at T&W Council that know enough about the city region to talk to me.  I asked her why it was that not even council employees knew anything about this and why, if it is such a good thing, it is all being kept secret.  She took offence at this and haughtily gave me her opinion that it wasn’t a secret at all.  I told her that I had been refused a copy of the proposal for the city region more than once, one occasion being a Freedom of Information Act request.  She took my name and number and left a message for the man in the know to ring me because he is conveniently unavailable today.

Next on my list was the Standards Board for England to ask them if the Leader of the Council, Keith Austin, had a predetermined opinion and/or prejudicial interest when he recommended the cabinet vote in favour of the city region when he gets a job with them and had been quoted more than once in the Shropshire Star beforehand saying what a wonderful idea it is.  They said there may be a case and invited me to submit a complaint.

The thought of this New Labour toad being hauled in front of the Standards Board kept me amused for all of 5 minutes so I decided to phone Birmingham City Council.  I spoke to a North British gentleman called Sandy who I spoke to once a few months ago.  He remembered who I was.  We had a heated discussion in which he failed to explain why the councils in the West Midlands euroregion can’t just co-operate without setting up yet another unelected regional government at the taxpayers expense, where and how the extra investment and benefits are coming from and why there is not going to be any referendum on the city region when even Telford’s europhile Labour MP said that the people of Telford don’t want regional government.  He also explained that the reason people in the North East euroregion rejected their regional assembly in a referendum was because they were unelected, couldn’t pass legislation and didn’t have much power whereas the city region … oh, there’s no difference.  He said that I should trust in the council leaders’ decisions as they were doing what is best for the region.  I suggested that they approved of it because it’s Labour Party policy and it’s a Labour council at which point he shouted that I couldn’t say that to which I replied “I can and I just did” and that the Chief Exec of T&W Council is a card carrying member of the Labour Party.  He got a bit wound up at this point and we weren’t getting anywhere so I made one final stab and getting him to contradict himself by asking him to confirm that we won’t be getting a say in the city region and that the consultation will be held once the decisions have all been made.  He said I couldn’t twist his words like that but confirmed that there wouldn’t be a referendum so … we aren’t going to have a say?

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MP in worry over jobs

Posted by wonkotsane on September 1, 2006

The following is an excerpt from the newly-redesigned (and frankly appaling) Shropshire Star website on the city region.

MP in worry over jobs

Telford will be losing out on jobs and investment because its name has been left off the newly-planned West Midlands city region, it has been claimed. It was announced today that the proposed new strategic policy-making body will be called The Birmingham, Coventry and the Black Country City region. Telford and Solihull councils are the only two to be ignored by the new title.

Today Wrekin MP Mark Pritchard said leaving Telford out of the title would mean it would not benefit from the same opportunities as the named areas. But bosses at Telford & Wrekin Council said the work and decisions of the body was much more important than the name.

This is all well and good Mark but I warned you a while ago that Telford was going to be shafted and did you listen? No, you wanted to wait and see what happened before you did anything. Well, I told you so and even now that you can see that Telford really is getting taken for a ride I bet you still do nothing about it.

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City Region gets its name

Posted by wonkotsane on September 1, 2006

The West Midlands City Region have officially got its name.  It will be known as the Birmingham, Coverntry and Black Country City Region.

Where does this leave Telford and Solihul, the only two parts of the City Region that aren’t even mentioned in the name?  Exactly where I said we would be – left out in the cold, a suburb of Birmingham.

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£5m grant awarded to non-existent City Region

Posted by wonkotsane on August 5, 2006

The West Midlands City Region propoganda offensive took a giant leap forward yesterday with the following article in the Shropshire Star.  The propoganda office at Telford & Wrekin Council have got it all in this piece of propoganda – disabled people, poor people, unemployed people, they’ll all benefit from being told what to do by unelected quangocrats in Birmingham.  This money is a bribe – how can the British government give money to a quango that doesn’t even exist?  Why can’t this money be channelled into Telford anyway?  Why do we have to comply with Labour Party policy in order to get funding which we obviously need?

Slice of £5m set to aid borough people By Deborah CollinsPeople in Telford could benefit from a slice of £5 million aimed at boosting employment in disadvantaged areas across the region.

The West Midlands city region, which includes Telford, is to benefit from money granted as the result of a successful bid to help increase levels of employment and improve people’s skills. The cash, from central government, will tackle unemployment, social exclusion and child poverty across the region, A share of the money, to be distributed through a city strategy, will be used in Donnington and Malinslee to help people with special physical or learning needs get access to employment.

Staff from the Learning and Skills Council and JobCentre Plus will be working with employers to improve employment rates.

Successes

Leader of Telford & Wrekin Council Keith Austin welcomed the news.

“It underlines the fact that our commitment to being part of the wider city region community is already bringing real benefits to help people in Telford,” he said.

“I am sure that this will be the first of many successes from our partnership working with other local authorities and I am pleased that, locally, disadvantaged people will be among the first to be helped.”

Richard Webb, corporate director for adult social care said the cash would bring real benefits.

“The city strategy is about putting excluded people at the heart of our ambitions for a dynamic city region,” said Mr Webb.

“Finding and keeping a job is vital for everyone’s self esteem, health and well-being.

“This successful bid and our joint working with the primary care trust means that we are well placed to help people with disabilities and long term illness to either get back into work or to take the first step into a real job”.

The West Midlands City Region includes eight local authority areas across Birmingham, the Black Country, Telford, Solihull and Conventry.

Posted in General, Press | 6 Comments »

The English Regions

Posted by wonkotsane on August 2, 2006

John at the England Project vents on the English Regions.

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Regionalism in the West Midlands

Posted by wonkotsane on July 30, 2006

Regionalism is particularly rife in the West Midlands, second only perhaps to London which has its own elected regional government.  The following is a list of regional quango’s, government departments and officially recognised regional organisations.  The list is far from exhaustive but is a good indication of the extent to which the euroregions have infected England.  Remember, these organisations all cost money and it the taxpayer that foots the bill.  Nobody in the West Midlands has been asked if they want these organisations but we still have to pay for them.

  • West Midlands Regional Assembly (WMRA) – website
  • Advantage West Midlands (AWM) – website
  • West Midlands Fire service – website
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service – website
  • NHS West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Regiment (Army) – website
  • Government Office for the West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Local Government Association – website
  • Regional Action West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Business Council – website
  • Culture West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Higher Education Association – website
  • West Midlands Learning & Skills Councils – website
  • Sustainability West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Rural Affairs Forum – website
  • West Midlands Regional Observatory – website
  • West Midlands in Europe – website
  • RegenWM – website
  • Sport England West Midlands – website
  • DEFRA West Midlands – website
  • Environment Agency West Midlands – website
  • Training & Development Agency West Midlands – website
  • West Midlands Centre of Excellence – website
  • West Midlands Probation Service – website
  • West Midlands Arson Task Force – website
  • West Midlands Freight Quality Partnership – website
  • Inspire West Midlands – website
  • Government News Network West Midlands – website

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Regional Health Authority pokes its nose in

Posted by wonkotsane on July 27, 2006

Shrewsbury & Telford NHS have worked out a plan on how to cut costs and cope with their debts.

Meanwhile, the British government creates a West Midlands Strategic Health Authority with no public consultation and suddenly the board of the Strategic Health Authority – based in Birmingham and only having responsibility for Telford & Shrewsbury for a matter of weeks – knows best and decides that they can’t go ahead with their plans until it’s been considered by Birmingham.

More and more of the decisions affecting our lives are being taken at a regional level.  Nobody wants the euro-regions and nobody asked for them.

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What’s it all about?

Posted by wonkotsane on July 20, 2006

Regional government and regional quangos are a cancer in England.

Originally conceived by the EU as a way of dividing not only England but the rest of Europe into easily controlled chunks, regional government has been adopted by the British government for the very same reasons.

 Rather than improve public services and democracy to the public as these regional quangos claim, they have pitted euroregion against euroregion in a battle for UK government funding and taken powers and responsibilites away from democratically elected representatives and given them to unelected regional yes-men.

The UK government prefers not to refer to the unelected regional assemblies, preferring instead to call them “indirectly elected” – a reference to the fact that some of the quangocrats are elected to local councils.  However, nobody is elected to a regional assembly or any of the associated quangos.

John Prescott, when he still had a real job in the UK government, was in charge of the euroregions and he hit on the idea of having elected regional assemblies in the 9 euroregions.  To this end, he announced a series of referenda in England starting with the North East euroregion which had the highest level of support for regional government.  The North East region, largely thanks to veteran campaigner Neil Herron, gave Labour the biggest referendum defeat any UK government has had in history with 78% of people rejected regional assemblies.  Following this defeat, the other 8 referenda were cancelled but – importantly – the regional structure remained in place and has been significantly extended and strengthened.

Labour have been forced to concede that the electorate do not want elected regional assemblies but, as they are obliged to implement regional government in England to satisfy the EU, they have had another cunning plan – City Regions.

In other European countries which, unlike England, have a national government, City Regions have been successful in growing their local economies.  The UK government have decided that what we need in England is City Regions.  The EU, Scottish and Welsh MP’s, European Federalists and quangocrats are all happy and the people will also be happy once they’ve been fed enough propoganda.  There is one important difference in the UK though – City Regions in England will be directly competing not only with each other but with the national governments in Scotland, Wales and (by the end of this year) Northern Ireland.  City Regions elsewhere in Europe and beyond do not have this same handicap and this is one major reason why City Regions will not work – a region cannot compete with a national government with the ability to pass primary legislation.

City Regions, as with the current network of regional government in England, will be paid for by the taxpayer.  However, unlike regional assemblies, the City Regions will be able to levy 5% on business rates.  Will businesses be attracted to a City Region where an unelected regional cabinet can make the arbitrary decision to increase business rates by 5% or to Scotland, for example, where the elected Scottish Executive can cut taxes as well as increase them?

The proposed West Midlands City Region will be centred on Birmingham and focussed on the metropolitan part of the West Midlands stretching from Birmingham to Wolverhampton leaving Telford and Coventry as little more than subservient satellites.  In fact, Telford is specifically mentioned in the proposals as a “stop tap” for developments in the City Region.  Developments that can’t be built in the metropolitan area of the West Midlands will instead be built on the green- and brownfield sites surrounding Telford.

If you are wondering why, if this is such a bad idea, councils in the West Midlands are so keen to get involved, you need look no further than the structure of the City Region cabinet.  The Leader and Chief Executive of each participating council will automatically take a place on the cabinet – the Leader on the decision-making part of the cabinet and the Chief Executive on the scrutiny panel.

The West Midlands City Region proposal has yet to be finalised and is kept in complete secrecy.  Freedom of Information Act requests for the proposals are refused by local councils on the basis that they will be published in the near future (when they are sent to the Local Government Minister to be rubber stamped and it is too late to object) and by the West Midlands Regional Assembly because they are immune from the Freedom of Information Act.  The Local Government Minister has already agreed to the West Midlands City Region despite not having seen the proposal!

In summary, regional government in general and city regions in particular, are expensive, undeomocratic, unaccountable and unwanted.  If you are interested in opposing regional government in the West Midlands, contact me.

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