David's Views: Regional Government
Britain is unique in the world in not having regional government and the government is unique in Britain in not having a full regional structure like other national organisations.
What we do have in the country is a large number of unelected unaccountable quangos. The danger with adding regional government is that you add another layer of government without reforming the other layers and that you do not reduce the number and scope of quangos.
So my views are:
- All regions of Britain should have regional government.
- Local government should be reformed to consist of just unitary authorities.
- The powers of most the quangos should be assumed by either the new regional or unitary authorities.
- The majority of powers which are currently held by district, county and unitary authorities should be maintained by the new unitary authorities.
- The majority of powers within new regional authorities should come from central government.
- All of these authorities should be elected using single transferable vote electoral system.
Why make these changes:
- The British people are naturally inventive and have an intuitive instinct for solving local problems. This is hampered by too much meddling from central government.
- The main task of central government should be setting standards and structures for services in the rest the country to run well. It is not the business of central government to run every public service in the country.
- Local services are better run by local people and if they are not well run local people are more accountable than distant civil servants or politicians in Whitehall.
- Responsibility for public services should rest with elected politicians who are directly accountable to the public that use those services.
- The politicians that make the decisions should be from the local area affected by their decisions, so that they can see at first hand the result of their decision-making.
- Political power should always be exercised as low down the government hierarchy as possible, so the politicians are directly accountable to the people they effect.
- The difference in size between central government on one side and the counties on the other is too great so a huge range of quangos have sprung up to fill the gap. They organise things like regional rail structure, regional planning, regional health, regional environmental protection and so on.
- In many cases the size of the county is too large to connect with local people and that contact is provided by the district authority.
- There is also great confusion at a local level over whether the county or district authority is responsible to provide a service.
The bottom line:
- This country is too centrally controlled and this hampers our nations' enhancement, prosperity and democratic accountably.
quango - (quasi non-governmental organisation) - is an organisation which is established by government, financed by government, to consider a subject of public importance, but which is acts independent from the government and so is not directly accountable to the public.