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Country News - 2003

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Prescott presses on with regional "parliament"

Monday 16 June 2003

DESPITE almost universal opposition, the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott will today announce plans for a referendum on the creation of a regional assembly for Yorkshire and the Humber.

It is expected to be one of three referenda held next year for local parliaments in the North of England, the other two being in the North East and North West.

Soundings by local organizations and newspapers like the Yorkshire Post have revealed that very few people want such assemblies, fearing that they will be just another "talking shop" bringing with them yet another layer of expensive bureaucracy.

Feelings against a Yorkshire parliament are particularly high in mainly rural North Yorkshire, for its is expected that such a body would be dominated by the big towns and cities in the west and south of the county.

They would have first call on any funds from Westminster and the EU and some people have speculated that local councils - including the county council - would be scrapped.

The Skipton-based Craven Herald, using tables already published, calculates that on a population basis, North Yorkshire would be entitled to just one half of a member in the new assembly.


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