Parliament: Devolution: Power to the regions

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The Independent Online
THE PROSPECT of directly elected assemblies for the English regions took a significant step closer to reality yesterday when ministers unveiled ambitious plans to boost investment for depressed areas.

Labour's manifesto commitment to create regional "mini-Parliaments" was underlined as John Prescott, the Deputy Prime Minister, announced details of eight new Regional Development Agencies due to start work today.

The agencies will be composed of businessmen, council leaders, trade unionists and university figures and will co-ordinate inward investment, skills improvement and regeneration projects. The North-west, North-east, Yorkshire and the Humber, West Midlands, East Midlands, Eastern, South- west, South-east and London will each have their own agency.

Richard Caborn, minister for the Regions and Regeneration, said yesterday: "We are managing change in England."