Friday, August 06, 2004

Yes Campaign Bombarded.The public are waking up to Prescott's Shambles

Northern Echo Letters
6th August
I AM convinced that a regional assembly would be quite wrong for the North-East.
I am strongly of the view that local government works best if the governed community has a community feeling, with common interests and needs; pride in the place one lives in is important too.

This does not apply to the North-East (or, for that matter, to any of the proposed regions in England). The region seems to have been decided on the basis of arbitrary lines drawn on a map of the country - this sort of system has been used before, and it never works.

Devolution to Scotland or Wales is quite different: their disparate areas are held together by a strong sense of nationalism.

More responsibility should be given to existing councils. This would raise their status, sadly low due to increased centralisation.
David M Bishop, Guisborough.

Newcastle Journal Letters
6th August
Government Offering us a Very Expensive Talking Shop

The Journal reported research which showedpossible savings in local government running costs should there be a North East regional assembly.

However, there is far from concensus about the potential for savings.

An independent report conducted by Michael Chisholm, of Cambridge University, concludes that transition costs in Northumberland and County Durham from their present system of local government to unitary authorities would cost £110 per resident.

The Government's own estimates state that a regional assembly would cost between £25m and £36m a year. However, previous Government estimates for running costs in the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and London Assemblies have been seriously lacking - all now cost double the Government's official estimates at well over £50m each.

This week also saw the opening of the new Scottish Parliament building - Holyrood - which saw costs to the Scottish taxpayer rise from £43m to £431m. There is nothing to stop a similar fiasco happening in the North East.

All the Government is offering is a very expensive talking shop.
John Elliott
North East Says No

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