Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Are city regions a runner for Labour?

In my newspaper columns at the weekend I focused on the Government's plans for "city regions" as outlined by Ruth Kelly in a speech last week.

The idea is to use the "London model" of an elected mayor with powers cutting across local authority areas to streamline accountability and galvanise economic development across eight major conurbations.

It's a good idea in theory, but to my mind, it raises different issues for different cities.

Manchester and Birmingham are already city regions and the plan makes a good deal of sense there. I am less sure whether it makes sense for Newcastle, and I am absolutely damned sure it makes no sense for Nottingham. Derby and Leicester, which was ludicrously labelled a potential "city region" by one of Ms Kelly's spokespeople, even though no-one in either city has actually suggested it.

Accordingly, the issue was given different treatment in each of the different columns I wrote about it.

The Newcastle Journal column can be read HEREwhile the North West Enquirer version can be viewed HERE. Unfortunately the other two are not online yet.

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Anonymous said...

It's been suggested that North Staffordshire becomes a city region centred on Stoke-on-Trent. This seems popular within the city by the neighbouring city of Newcastle-under-Lyme to the west and rural Staffordshire Moorlands to the East are very much opposed. We like to know the city is there and is accessible. However, we don't want to be run by it and we certainly don't want to be merged with it.

Croydonian said...

Should this come to pass, the good burghers of Newcastle, Manchester et al should be thankful that they won't be getting Ken Livingstone.

Anonymous said...

Can you really see the good folk of Derby wanting to be ruled by a mayor in Nottingham. It goes to show how out of tune Labour are with the feeling on the ground. We have Cities, not European regions.

Manchester University Labour Club said...

I'f love Ken as mayor of Manchester. Bring it on.

Toque said...

Paul, did you see who Gordon Brown has appointed as an advisor?

A clue to the future direction perhaps!

Anonymous said...

Ah, so the idea of City Regions is back again, is it? Completely different from regional assemblies.

I've always thought this is what John Hall really wanted for the North East and not the crock of shite he was forced to sell in 2004. (I wonder whose name he had in mind for Mayor, eh?) If Labour couldn't overcome the fear of Newcastle domination with an assembly of 25 to smother Tyneside's vote then they certainly couldn't do it with a single "all-powerful" Mayor.

People have short memories. This idea will be cut to shreds in any referendum. Don't forget Paul: politicians talk, we pay.

Croydonian said...

Adele, PLEASE take him off our hands....