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Replace county councils with regional assemblies

Comment 2nd July 2010

Abolish English county councils and replace them with elected regional assemblies for each of the English regions outside of London. All powers and functions of county councils would be transferred to the regional assemblies and metropolitan borough councils would have the same powers and functions as non-metropolitan district councils.

80% of assembly members should be elected by first past the post using the same constituency boundaries used in Westminster elections and 20% through a region wide party list, as used in European elections.

Why does this matter?

Merging county councils into regional assemblies would save money (through the sale of local government buildings and sacking councillors) and have minimal effect on local government services once the initial changeover has taken place. The election system would allow more smaller parties to be represented at a local level. Assemblies would also allow regional issues such as housing, transport and business development to be dealt with on a regional level whilst mainly local issues such as planning and waste disposal would be dealt with by district and borough councils. This would compensate for the abolition of the regional development agencies whilst maintaining democratic accountability.

Also, two tier local government would return to metropolitan areas for the first time in 25 years. This would allow the successful region wide government model used by the GLA in London to be used in the other urban areas that had their county councils abolished in 1986.

 


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