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Thursday, 9 May, 2002, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
English devolution plans at-a-glance
The government published its white paper on regional government on Thursday. Here are its main points.

  • Each area to be offered a referendum on whether to have a regional assembly

  • Assemblies would be responsible for setting priorities, delivering regional strategies and allocating government funds

  • Most of their funding would come from the government - from money currently given to Regional Development Agencies

  • Assemblies would also be able to raise council taxes - equivalent to about 5p a week for Band D taxpayers

  • Under current funding figures, a North East assembly would be responsible for about 350m and would be able to influence how another 500m was spent

  • The assemblies would have specific responsibility for: economic development, skills and employment, housing, sport, culture and tourism, transport, planning, environmental protection

  • Local councils would retain control of social services, education and other services.

  • Only one layer of local government would be allowed below the assembly

  • Some county or district councils could be abolished where assemblies are set up - but this would depend on an independent review of local government structures

  • Assembly members would be elected by proportional representation, with each area having between 25 and 30 members, headed by a leader and cabinet.

  • Extra powers could be given to existing Regional Development Agencies, regional chambers and Government offices in the regions

  • Government hopes to hold the first referendum before the next general election
    The BBC's Kevin Bocquet
    "People are worried that a regional assembly would mean an extra layer of bureacracy"
    See also:

    04 May 02 | UK Politics
    'Red tape' warning on assemblies plan
    21 Mar 02 | UK Politics
    English 'want regional parliaments'
    12 Dec 01 | England
    Tories reject South West assembly
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