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EDITIONS
Monday, 23 September, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
North 'unfit' to govern itself
Durham Cathedral
Durham could be the seat of a North East assembly
The North East does not have the quality of people needed to govern itself, it is claimed.

The region is the first in England to have a devolved regional assembly under government plans.

But the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) says the region's "political class" is not up to the job.

It is now urging Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to rethink proposals for elected regional assemblies.

Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott
John Prescott: Urged to rethink position

Steve Rankin, director of the CBI in the North East, said: "If you ask our members whether they have confidence in the political class in this region, they would say no.

"It's good news that ministers are offering the sort of effort and resources the region needs.

"But we do not want to waste this golden opportunity by backing the wrong solution."

He said a new tier of government would damage economic growth, undermine regional development agencies and complicate the decision-making process.

'Unhelpful interference'

He has called on Mr Prescott to set up a taskforce to come up with alternative proposals which would improve regional management without major new institutions.

A CBI spokesman said: "Employers want stronger regional economies, but there is little evidence to suggest elected assemblies will make a difference.

"The problems are managerial, not political.

"Assemblies would jeopardise the freedom of existing regional development agencies like One Northeast, subjecting them to unhelpful party political interference."

A spokesman for the North East-based Campaign for English Regions, said: "We need to get decision making close to people and we need people to be able to decide their own future.

"Regional assemblies are about making bureaucracy accountable."


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Find out what people around England said

The results
 VOTE RESULTS
Should there be regional government in England?

Yes
 46.39% 

No
 53.61% 

4219 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

See also:

23 Sep 02 | England
09 May 02 | Politics
09 May 02 | Politics
04 May 02 | Politics
21 Mar 02 | Politics
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