EADT readers reject regionalism

KEEP them local, Mr Prescott. That's the overwhelming message from EADT readers to the Deputy Prime Minister whose regional agenda may spell the end of county councils and the amalgamation of county police forces.

By Graham Dines

KEEP them local, Mr Prescott. That's the overwhelming message from EADT readers to the Deputy Prime Minister whose regional agenda may spell the end of county councils and the amalgamation of county police forces.

By a margin of more than nine to one, readers who voted in our referendum rejected any move towards elected regional government, the regionalisation of services, and possible plans to replace Suffolk County Council and smaller district councils with large all-purpose unitary authorities.

Last night, John Gummer, Conservative MP for Suffolk Coastal, said the results confirmed what his constituents were telling him - that they wanted to keep their police and emergency services local and did not want to end up paying for a major overhaul of local government.


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But Ipswich's Labour MP Chris Mole, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Local Government Minister Phil Woolas, claimed last night: “There is no question of the Government ever imposing an elected regional assembly in the East of England.

“John Prescott has promised that if such an option was ever to be considered, the people would be asked for their approval, just as they were in the North East referendum in November 2004.”

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He added: “There is likely to be a White Paper on the future of local government structures at the beginning of the summer, but I am not going to speculate on what it will recommend.”

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