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Government to shut West Mids office.

THE Government Office for the West Midlands is to be abolished, it has been announced.

Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles said that the "arbitrary" division of the country into regions was not "efficient, effective or popular".

Far from being voices of their regions, the Government Offices were "agents of Whitehall" interfering in local decisionmaking, he said.

He announced his intention in principle to shut down the office, based in Birmingham, along with seven other regional officers, though the axe would not finally fall until the end of the Government's spending review this autumn.

Mr Pickles said: "I do not believe the arbitrary government regions to be a tier of administration that is efficient, effective or popular.

"Citizens across England identify with their county, their city, their town, their borough and their neighbourhood.

"The case for elected regional government was overwhelmingly rejected by the people in the 2004 North-East Referendum.

"Unelected regional government equally lacks democratic legitimacy, and its continuing existence has created a democratic deficit."

He added: "The Government Offices are not voices of the region in Whitehall.

"They have become agents of Whitehall to intervene and interfere in localities."
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jul 23, 2010
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