November 15, 2006

Back to the Regions

Yesterday I mentioned the campaign by my local MP, Grant Shapps, to highlight the cost of government Regions. I suggested it should be Conservative policy to abolish them, and Grant commented that it is.

Edward Huxley writes to The Telegraph today -
Unfortunately it is not possible to do anything about these unelected talking shops while Conservative councillors continue to serve on them. If they resigned en bloc, the whole thing would collapse. They would, of course, lose their allowances and expenses.
An interesting angle, and if the Regions are valueless why do Conservative councillors and councils support them with money and time? This point is also picked up by Peter Bowman -
There was no mention in your reports of the creation of the European regions, one of which is Arc Manche, covering south Belgium, northern France, Normandy, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Dorset and part of Devon, which came into existence, with its own secretariat and president — Alain le Vern — in Paris on October 17.

I doubt if many ratepayers know of this, despite the fact that their county councillors have been active in the creation of the administration. This will add yet another cost to the existing £41 million per day that our European government is costing us.

Also noticeable is the deafening silence from the Opposition benches, who claim they wish to devolve power back to the local councils and do away with regional assemblies. When will someone speak out and tell us all just what is going on and allow the people of this country an opportunity to give their opinion. Or is the gravy train just too rich to miss?
There may be a Conservative policy to abolish Regions, then, but Conservative councils still engage with them. Maybe Caroline Spelman is keeping too low a profile.

So here are some questions for Grant Shapps, or even the official spokeswoman.
  • Is it Conservative policy for Conservative councillors and local authorities to support the Regions?

  • Would abolishing the Regions be compatible with membership of the EU?

  • And if a Conservative government did abolish them, would the full £1m a day be saved?

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