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Government: Decentralisation

Volume 685: debated on Tuesday 10 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they intend to introduce legislation to decentralise the United Kingdom governmental system and structures, notwithstanding devolution in Scotland and Wales. [HL7410]

The Government are committed to continuing decentralisation and to strong and accountable local government and leadership. As well as establishing a Scottish Parliament and Assemblies for Wales and Northern Ireland, they have restored London government through the creation of the Greater London Authority. Following consultation, the Government intend to bring forward legislation to strengthen the powers of the London Mayor and Assembly.

The Government do not, however, believe in a prescriptive or “one size fits all” approach. In England, outside London, the Government will continue to support the work of the voluntary regional assemblies in scrutinising regional development agencies, as regional planning bodies, and as regional housing boards. They are also working with cities to help improve their economic performance. However, respecting the outcome of the November 2004 north-east referendum on the creation of an elected regional assembly, the Government have no current plans for the creation of directly elected regional bodies.

The Government have strengthened the authority and visibility of the government offices as a facilitator of partnership working in the regions and localities and are committed to a programme of relocating 20,000 central government posts from London and the south-east by 2010.