Government says its position on regional assemblies has not changed

THE Government has denied that it is planning to revive its policy of elected regional assemblies. It follows a claim by Torridge and West Devon Tory MP Geoffrey Cox that the controversial policy was back on the agenda. Elected regional assemblies took

THE Government has denied that it is planning to revive its policy of elected regional assemblies.

It follows a claim by Torridge and West Devon Tory MP Geoffrey Cox that the controversial policy was back on the agenda.

Elected regional assemblies took a back seat when people in the North East overwhelmingly rejected the idea for their region in a 2004 referendum.

But Mr Cox said that Rosie Winterton, the new Minister for Regional Economic Co-ordination, had said in a speech that she had always been in favour of regional assemblies and believed that the Government would return to the idea.


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Mr Cox said this would mean an extra tier of regional government to be paid for by a regional levy on council tax.

However, a Government spokesman today denied that Rosie Winterton had announced a new regional policy in her speech.

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He said: "The Government's position on regional assemblies has not changed. Ms Winterton did not announce a new regional assembly policy in her speech, she simply outlined her historical involvement with RAs at a conference about regions.

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