Abolition of NUTS1 regions

Many of us in England have found regional government offensive, divisive and wasteful. It is good therefore to read the following from Mr Pickles:

“The Coalition government has abolished regional government. The unelected Regional assemblies/Regional Chambers, the Government offices for the regions, the Regional Fire Control programme, the Regional development Agencies have been terminated, as is intended for the Regional Spatial strategies…

“There is also a European dimension to the regions in the form of Eurostat’s nomenclature of units for territorial statistics standard (the appropriately named NUTS Regulations). It is the view of Ministers that the NUTS1 hierarchy is no longer appropriate for structural funds…. Ministers reject a notion of a Europe of the regions where nation states and Parliament are side-lined….”


  1. Martyn
    September 19, 2012

    Good news about the abolition of the useless, hugely expensive and undemocratic regional systems. You report, John, that “Ministers reject a notion of a Europe of the regions where nation states and Parliament are side-lined….”

    Really? Can anyone point out any important areas of national Sovereignty that has not been handed lock, stock and barrel to the EU, or say what is left for us to decide in our own best interests without falling foul of the EU dictatorship? I see that the government’s plan to push out fast broadband across the nation is being held up awaiting a EU ruling as to whether or not business competition rules have been breached.

    Yet more delay awaiting the prognostications of our EU masters. Doesn’t seem to match what the Ministers are claiming, does it?

  2. Atlas
    September 19, 2012

    Ah, John, you are the bearer of good news!…

  3. Farenheit211
    September 19, 2012

    It is good to hear Mr Pickles say that a Europe of the regions is not wanted. I commend him for that.

  4. Denis Cooper
    September 19, 2012

    Ah, but I recall that regional assemblies “have nothing whatsoever to do with the EU”, according to the South East England Regional Assembly Chairman and Leader of Bucks County Council David Shakespeare, in a letter printed by the Bucks Free Press on December 14th 2001.

    Just like so many other things “have nothing whatsoever to do with the EU”.

    Escaping from the boredom of the EU and its apparently interminable self-inflicted eurozone crisis into yet another historical novel I was interested in the etymological connection between “Surrey” and “Southwark”, Lundene being the Mercian city on the north bank of the Temes, Suthrige being the scir of Wessex on the south bank and Suthriganaweorc being the burh constructed as the southern defence of the (broken) bridge, to be manned by the Suthrige fyrd.

    Maybe I’ll be told that I should stop living in the ninth century, but these roots run deep even if unseen by many and despised by some.

    1. forthurst
      September 19, 2012

      Perhaps we should restructure our country, politically, according to its earliest roots e.g. based upon those tribal areas, noted by Caesar, whose genetic identity can still be detected today, rather that of the Anglo-Saxons and others who merely reorganised us (like the liar and traitor Edward Heath)? I realise that this would be unpopular with new ‘Britons’, particularly those without any real history of their own either because they were previously hunter-gathering or because their history is entirely constructed of self-aggrandising fairy tales.

      “British Have Changed Little Since Ice Age, Gene Study Says”


      1. Denis Cooper
        September 20, 2012

        Yes, the genetic roots run very much deeper than was once assumed by historians, but the cultural roots have been largely severed on a number of occasions. The Romans may not have been the first to do that, but the last occasion was the Anglo-Saxon invasion, with some later Scandinavian and Norman modifications. Even so there are still organisational vestiges from pre-Roman times, for example “Kent” is derived from a pre-Roman name although it is thought to have covered only the eastern part of the present county. The originally Anglo-Saxon system of shires as the top tier of local government has been with us across all England for over a thousand years, albeit the Normans preferred to call them counties, and the shire system was later extended into Wales and Scotland. Regions have intruded from time to time, notably under Cromwell, but in their most recent emergence regions were not intended to provide England with a better system of local government but to provide the projected new country of “Europe” with its top tier of local government. For those who want that new country to come into existence regionalisation actually makes good sense, the scale of Europe being so much larger than that of England and therefore requiring proportionately larger units than typical English counties as the top tier of its local government.

        1. forthurst
          September 21, 2012

          “Yes, the genetic roots run very much deeper than was once assumed by historians, but the cultural roots have been largely severed on a number of occasions.”

          Caesar noted that the language and customs were much the same on either side of the Channel. Not only is the Anglo-Saxon wipeout theory discredited, but with it must go the corollary, much still beloved of the BBC, that Britain pre-Anglo-Saxon times was the inhabited by ‘Celts’ speaking ‘Celtic’ languages, and if the people and their language were not replaced, what about their customs? What about regional accents? How did these arise and when?

  5. Disaffected
    September 19, 2012

    There are still governing bodies for Scotland and Wales. Still far too many tiers of government when the EU, through law and regulations, create the real rules for the UK, as you highlighted the other day. No need to have 650 MPs to wave through EU legislation. About 50 at tops could it. At least it would save the taxpayer about £80 million by severely cutting MP numbers. No need for IPSA who only provide lip service in pretending they are independent or raising standards. Whitehall numbers could be slashed as well, saving another fortune.

  6. Leslie Singleton
    September 19, 2012

    What’s the catch? This is the first sensible action from this government. Assuming this is real, if they deliver and don’t allow themselves to overruled by some nobody in Brussels all they have to do is come up with about 100 like it and they might begin to reacquire a smidgen of credibility, which they most certainly do not have at present.

    1. David Kelly
      September 19, 2012

      When I saw this story, my first reaction was also to ask, “what’s the catch?”. The British ruling classes aren’t exactly renowned for their love of England or the English. All the major parties would do well to remember that it’s impossible to form a government at Wastemonster without England’s support. If only we had an English version of the SNP, which stood a chance of winning an election.

  7. uanime5
    September 19, 2012

    So who’s going to do all the things that the Regional Governments used to do? I trust Parliament didn’t close down the Regional Governments so they could acquire their powers.

    1. libertarian
      September 19, 2012

      And what is it that they did?

      1. Acorn
        September 20, 2012

        They oversee the vitally important elections to the … pause for sound of choir of angels … EUROPEAN ELECTIONS; which are based on NUTS 1 regions, all 12 of them. I doubt if DCLG actually remembered that fact. Remember, if you are not a millionaire at the end of your jolly as an MEP, you are doing it wrong.

    2. Leslie Singleton
      September 19, 2012

      Dear unanime5, You do say some funny things. How about we just carry on the same way we have done these last 100o years (at least)? A plague take anything and everything with even a sniff of unanimity or homogeneity or consensus or whatever else with across the Channel.

    3. Lindsay McDougall
      September 20, 2012

      Parliament got rid of an unnecessary tier of government. Mrs Thatcher got rid of the GLC for similar reasons. The elected Mayor of London has taken over the transport function, which was the only thing that needed to be centralised at London level.

      We no longer have the Livingstone lunacies, such as notices proclaiming that London was a nuclear zone and the relentless promotion of ‘minorities’. I once worked out which group of people was not in one of his minorities. It was white, middle class, middle aged, heterosexual males, with above average incomes and above average sex drive. Everybody else was in a ‘minority’. Small wonder that he got re-elected until people rumbled him.

  8. lifelogic
    September 19, 2012

    Nuts indeed – how many millions has been wasted on these so far and how much will it cost to close them down or (rather more likely) given them a new name and restructure them as usually happens. All will get good pay offs no doubt and new pointless jobs, probably in some other Quango or similar.

    1. Mazz
      September 20, 2012

      @lifelogic – …All will get good pay offs no doubt and new pointless jobs, probably in some other Quango or similar….

      My first thoughts too.

  9. Lindsay McDougall
    September 19, 2012

    Excellent, but Mr Pickles’ letter should be copied to Mrs Merkel. It is important to have the right audience.

  10. sjb
    September 19, 2012

    Ah, yes, the Party Conference is coming up.

  11. The Prangwizard
    September 19, 2012

    Can we take this as being unqualified and certain? If so, it is more than welcome. England restored as a unity. Lets hope the next step is progress on a parliament for England and further detachment from the EU. Congratulations to all. Keep on Keepin’ on!

  12. JT
    September 19, 2012

    £80mil saved, out of £600bn
    need another 499 closed to be noticeable
    1250 will close the deficit
    Are there 1250 that can be closed

  13. libertarian
    September 19, 2012

    Hmm Regional Development Agency in my region has just been replaced by a LEP so not really sure that this has happened in reality

  14. Iain Gill
    September 19, 2012

    Considering the North East voted against regional government in their referendum and the plug was pulled on referendum in other regions as the results were likely to go against what the political elite wanted it has been a long time coming. Now if you could just stop Scottish MP’s voting on English laws I would believe there was a small element of demoracy going on.

  15. Jon
    September 19, 2012

    I was able to watch Mr Pickles performance at the despatch box after the planning announcements recently. It was good and quite humerus in his sarcasm. He ripped into his Labour shadow who criticised the extension limits, it began something like, for someone who’s grounds are measured by the acre….

    Right man in the right job I recon.

  16. Peter van Leeuwen
    September 20, 2012

    The Netherlands has had direct elections for all its NUTS2 regions for over 150 years, far preceding the EU. A more engaged Britain might have ensured from the outset that statistical regions were congruent with its local government structures. A bit stupid not to have done so when NUTS was devised.

    Reply We do not want regions, and do not want to be part of an EU governing structure.

    1. Alan Wheatley
      September 20, 2012

      There was nothing wrong with counties. But they are being done away with for no good reason.

  17. Derek Emery
    September 20, 2012

    A German on Daily Politics a couple of days ago said that the EU from day one was designed to be a one party state from its inception. He added that UK politicians have known this from day one any blames them for not telling the public this but keeping it secret. I suppose they knew this would go down like a lead balloon with the public who value democracy.

  18. Michael Cawood
    September 20, 2012

    The Welsh Assembly Government needs to be abolished – it is just a huge generator of hot air and a waste of space. When you think that all this body has done since it was created is to force people to pay 5p for supermarket carrier bags it is impossible for this shower to justify its existence. So come on, remove this waste of space.

  19. David in Kent
    September 20, 2012

    So glad to hear that Kent is no longer part of Nord Pas de Calais.

  20. David Langley
    September 21, 2012

    When Welsh and Scottish students pay no tuition fees and English students do I know that there is a lot of unbalancing going on at National level. I welcome the admission that the EU is playing the divide and rule game and also the admission that regional governments are a fig leaf for jobs for the local boys. I share the concern about them reappearing or already in being in another name.
    By the way have we a list of the thousands of EU rules and regulations that are going to be returned to sender? The one third of the house of lords that deal with these matters should be able to provide this now surely, its their day job? I am impatient to get started or see some evidence that this is also not just a charade for the gullible.

  21. school made easier
    November 29, 2012

    ??Not funny ! Lls

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