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Regional assembly plans slammed

PLANS by the Government to introduce regional assemblies have been slammed by the St Albans Branch Democracy Movement.

Chairman Kenneth Shuttleworth described the Government's White Paper, Your Region Your Choice as "blatant spin and untruths."

The White Paper, which is available to the public until August, details an extensive plan to create large regional assemblies to make "regional governance more effective and more accountable."

The paper states the aim is to eventually follow the Scottish model of devolution to further decentralise Government power.

But Mr Shuttleworth thinks the new assemblies could spell the end for county councils and signal a shift towards a less representative style of government.

He said: "The suggestion that the intention is to bring power and responsibility nearer to the people is quite ridiculous.

"We would not be electing individual representatives for our own locality people who we could get rid of if they did not perform.

"We would be voting on party tickets and the political parties would be deciding from their own list of party members who would actually sit on the regional assembly.

"We the voters would have no local representation. It would even be possible that there was no one from Hertfordshire on the regional assembly."

Hertfordshire County Council has set up a working party to study the implications of the White Paper and is expected to report its findings on July 22.

Visit <www.dtlr.gov.uk> to see the White Paper.



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