Stop press – Conservatives confirm intention to abolish English Regional development Agencies

Good news – Conseravtives still want to abolish RDAs. RDAs have failed to narrow the gap between richer and poorer regions, have often got in the way of private sector led growth and development, have failed to deliver good transport systems and have been very bureaucratic. I look forward to their abolition, and hope we will save some money on all the bureaucracy. London would remain at it is the Mayor’s not the government’s.


  1. Lindsay McDougall
    March 5, 2010

    Yes, indeed. And Regional Health Authorities?

  2. APL
    March 5, 2010

    JR: "Good news – Conseravtives still want to abolish RDAs."

    Yes, good news indeed. Now all we need is a defined timeframe.

    So for example:


    Within six months of taking office.

    Would both be well defined targets. However,

    We aspire to abolish RDA at the first opportunity.

    Is as good as useless.

    1. R.Upton
      May 14, 2010

      Good News ! Having worked in a Government Office on the prvious ERDF PRogramme, the performance and behaviour of the regional RDA on the latest programme has been nothing short of inept and arrogant.
      Give it all back to the GOs I say ?

    March 5, 2010

    As you say, Good News.

    We hope there will be more direct punchy announcements of this kind to show that the Conservatives are serious about eliminating waste.
    It's the best way of not only highlighting Labour's failures but David Cameron's fitness to govern and regaining lost faith by voters of all persuasions including Tory (see our 6 'new improved' Manifesto Guarantees posted here on 2nd March!)

  4. Chris
    March 5, 2010

    I am concerned that the EU will find some powers to counter this proposed action by the Tories (an action which I wholeheartedly support) – after all aren't these regions fundamental to the EU grand design?

  5. Ken Adams
    March 5, 2010

    I take that Mr Cameron will offer us a Cast Iron guarantee?

    1. APL
      March 6, 2010

      Ken Adams: "Cast Iron guarantee?"

      Ho ho.

      But this is a serious point, Now we are in a position where one cast iron promise has been broken, anything in the range of aspiration to guarantee are similarly worthless.

      As an advertising executive, one would have thought Mr Cameron would be familiar with the concept of a devalued brand.

  6. Mike Stallard
    March 5, 2010

    I am working for a RDA at the moment (part time). For every student, we have seven pieces of paper, not including the initial assessment of five pages.
    They seem incapable of permanent employment, and our Director has to beg on hands and knees for each little trickle of cash.
    If just one piece of paper does not contain a signature/colour/detail, the whole lot is sent back to her for correction. This takes time, during which the Centre she is in charge of loses a lot of money.
    Also, of course, I have to spend about ten minutes of every lesson doing "burokracia" which is seriously annoying.
    I suspect that, just as with Scotland and Wales, the idea is to bring UK into line with Spain, France, Belgium and Germany – making us a country of regions each of which is subordinate to the Commissars at Brussels.

  7. Matt
    March 5, 2010

    Excellent news. Which way will the power go though (a huge amount of funding went through the RDAs).? Will it go back to Whitehall or down to local government?

    Reply: Mainly down to local government – and I tust we will save some money as well.

    1. Touch-and-Go
      May 3, 2010

      It is certainly Good News that the Regional Development Agencies are still due to be abolished, but I would certainly like to know when and would also like to know where the money will go! My home depends upon it!
      My local council (Wellingborough) wish to develop the land surrounding and on which my leased home is built. They do not have the money to do it, and no developers are currently willing to put up the money to do the development, which means that it is unlikely to happen. Unfortunately, Gordon Brown with his "vacuum cleaner" approach to economics (i.e. "Chuck the money out the back of the machine fast enough and we'll create a vacuum, which will hopefully attract money in at the front end!"), has promised money to the local RDA, who in turn have promised £1 million to Wellingborough to build a service road into the proposed development in order to "Attract developers because they won't have the road to build". Some hope!
      The Japanese tried that approach some 20 years ago and they are still waiting for their return on investment! Interestingly Northamptonshire needs what the councillors estimate to be £20 million to repair the current roads. If we can stop this one being built then there's a small contribution towards that bill through the saving. However, if we can't, the repair bill will go up to include the preservation of a road that goes nowhere, no one currently wants and its only achievement will be the destruction of 3 houses worth a total of around £350,000. What madness!
      However, we can't blame Wellingborough council – after all, most of us would be happy to spend £1 million if someone else made it available on condition that we spent it, wouldn't we? Mind you, I suspect that most of us would want some sort of certainty that the project was going to get the desired result if we had to provide £350,000 ourselves, isn't that true?
      Anyway, it is all due to start on 30th July 2010 so if before that date anyone can answer the question "When will the RDAs cease or has any other useful information that I might be able to use to stop Wellingborough building this road, I would be very pleased to read the posting. Good luck to all on Thursday!

  8. tally
    March 6, 2010

    Does this mean the Conservatives will treat England as one region or dare I say it, a country in its own right?

  9. English Conservative
    March 6, 2010

    Fantastic news that RDAs are to be scrapped.

    But how unfortunate that Cameron has gone back on the long-standing Conservative pledge of "English Votes on English Laws" that was made under Hague, IDS and Howard. Even Cameron himself promised to give English MPs the decisive say on English legislation.

    Now we learn that, under a Cameron government, Scottish MPs will still be allowed to vote on English Laws at second and third readings, potentially having the decisive say, as in the Tuition Fees and Foundation Hospital votes.

  10. Mike Paterson
    March 6, 2010

    Why should that spend be transferred to local government or Whitehall at all? Surely it should be part of the Cut the Deficit strategy and simply disappear altogether.

  11. Patrick Harris
    March 6, 2010

    Is this another "cast iron" promise? – vote English Democrats – "putting England first"

    1. Riddi of England
      March 6, 2010

      Amen to that.

  12. James W Gash
    March 6, 2010

    I'll believe it when I see it.

  13. Alan England
    March 6, 2010

    Now you've done the easy bit, what is now proposed to replace them? Not being privy the thinking of the Conservatives' inner sanctum, I don't suppose you know. If you did, you would have said!

    If Cameron ["there's Scottish blood flowing through my veins"] really wants to win the forthcoming general election with a workable majority, he'll commit the Conservatives to holding a referendum in England on the creation of an English Parliament with no less powers than those devolved to Scotland.

    16% of the YooKay's population have three 'parliaments' between them, whilst the 84% in England have none, and are subjected to the persistent interference in England's affairs by MPs representing N Ireland, Scotland and Wales who now have much more time on their hands to do so!

    Surely in a true democracy the interests and opinions of the majority (84%) would receive no less consideration than those of the minorities (16%)!


  14. Ian Campbell
    March 6, 2010

    Abolishing the RDAs should be only the first step. The second step is to allow England some control over its own domestic policy by excluding Scots, Welsh and Irish MPs from voting on English bills – something the Cameroons have wobbled on. Research in the British Social Attitudes Survey indicates 61% support for this. It's a clear vote winner for the Tories. And on present polling, the Tories will need every vote they can get in England. The Labour party will still probably have 60 MPs from Scotland and Wales after the election.

  15. Stephen Gash
    March 6, 2010

    Why should we in England believe this any more than we did the promise of English Votes on English Laws? An IPPR survey about the English question sent to all MPs resulted in only 114 bothering to respond. This total lack of concern about England from the British MPs in Westminster shows exactly why we English need our own parliament.

    Of those Tory MPs that could be bothered to respond, 90% wanted English Votes on English Laws. It would appear that David Cameron unilaterally reneged on the English then? Or at least the Shadow Cabinet never consulted Tory backbenchers?

    Most Tories could not be bothered to vote on Regional Grand Committees in England, they cared so little. So even if we are to believe that RDAs will be scrapped by a Tory government, what will happen to these RGCs?

    Presently the RGC voting is rigged with Labour drafting in MPs from outside the region, will the Tories do the same?

    What England needs is its own First Minister and executive focusing on English needs.

    Please tell me this Jouhn. How is it Cornwall has received recognition in the British-Irish Council, but England is not recognised? Why is it English money is distributed by this body, but no Englishman, and recognised as such, is sat at the table?

    Reply: Conservatives will abolish the regional Grand Committees for England, and the Regional assemblies.

  16. Anoldun
    March 6, 2010

    Now let us see, The RDA total budget for 2009-10 is £2.253 billion and the budget for 2010-11 is £1.762 billion.

    There are twelve European Union Regional Development Agencies altogether. In England there are nine RDAs: One NorthEast; the Northwest Development Agency; Yorkshire Forward; Advantage West Midlands; the East Midlands Development Agency; the East of England Development Agency; the South West of England Regional Development Agency; the South East England Development Agency; and the London Development Agency.

    Then we have the Scottish Parliament which is of course an RDA, the Welsh Assembly also an RDA, and the Northern Ireland Assembly also an RDA.

    If, when The Conservatives get rid of these 12 EU RDA's mean that we are getting out of the EU and we will at last be free, I would be with you all the way. But sadly your leader "wants to remain in the EU" so I do not understand how he can 'get rid of" EU RDA's do you?

    It might be their "intention" but even THEY know unless they abrogate all the Treaties, they cannot actually do, even though they might still cling on to "Their Intention".

    Reply: I know of no legal barrier to the UK abolishing these unwanted creatures.

  17. Andrew Duffin
    March 6, 2010

    Chris asked the right question.

    Nobody has answered it yet.

    Mr. Redwood? Any comment?

    Reply: I didn't answer it because I know of no impediment the EU can impose to stop the UK Parliament abolishing these things. Anyway, Conservatives have pledged to put through a Sovereignty of Parliament Bill as well, which Bill Cash has drafted and I have backed in Parliament.

  18. Anoldun
    March 6, 2010

    I would suggest the 'impediment' might be the fact that this government, on behalf of us ALL and knowingly against the wishes of most if us has ratified the Treaty of Lisbon in which a UK Government has agreed through EU Treaties that the Union have competence over its Nation States Constitutions and Laws. Sovereignty Bill?

    I have taken this from the recent Judgement of the German Courts re the Treaty of Lisbon. "Efforts were directed towards the foundation of United States of Europe and towards the creation of a European nation. It was intended to establish a European federal state through a Constitution. This was already made clear by the Congress of Europe, held in The Hague in 1948, with its appeal to create a federated Europe, through the formation of the European Movement which developed from it, and finally by the “Action Committee for the United States of Europe”,"

    Every EU Treaty has worked towards that end, but no longer for a United States of Europe, but just for one STATE of. If you read the Constitution of the USA you will also, through its history, read how easy it would be for the EU to make us all just EU Citizens, for wasn't the USA all separate States at one time? Read then a little further and see how the EU can ensure that not one State can ever LEAVE the EU. It is all there in the Constitution of the USA.

    The question is, is that what YOU ALL want? Is that what will happen. Not sure? Read our own Hansard debates from the late 1950's to the signing of the Treaty of Rome and see what those once famous names had to say THEN. And then recognise the lies the people have been told since, particularly the no loss of sovereignty bit.

  19. Patrick Harris
    March 6, 2010

    John, I've never seen you so lost for words.

  20. Patrick Harris
    March 7, 2010

    The Regional Assemblies were to be dismantled only to morph into "partnerships" the same people in the same buildings – just another name.

  21. Stephen Gash
    March 9, 2010

    John Redwood's reply "Reply: Conservatives will abolish the regional Grand Committees for England, and the Regional assemblies."

    Except they won't

    As it says: "THE Conservatives have admitted they will not scrap regional development agencies as they seek to end policy confusion just weeks before the General Election. "

  22. Patrick Harris
    March 9, 2010

    Bejasus, that cast iron promise lasted a long time.

  23. Andrew Duffin
    March 10, 2010

    Mr. Gash got there before me!

    I don't in any way wish to impugn our host's intentions or honesty, but it does rather look as if his party is being run by a bunch of, well, erm, to put it politely, um – how can one put this politely?

    I don't know exactly how this volte-face was brought about, but rest assured, the EU will be at the bottom of it somehow.

    Can we leave yet?

  24. […] John Redwood MP » Stop press – Conservatives confirm intention to … […]

  25. adam
    March 11, 2010

    Does this mean an end to regionalism or simply a rebranding.

    I see the Conservatives are supporting the high speed rail link and criticising the government by not connecting up the other areas of the UK.
    This is an EU project dreamed up a decade ago in response to UN sustainable development requirements by the EU central planners. The channel tunnel was the first stage.

    If the Conservatives are supporting this project, and demanding it go further, inevitably out to Ireland, is is evidence of secret support for the EU central planning agenda

  26. gold rings
    April 10, 2010

    Great writing style, reading this blog via RSS as well. thanks.

  27. Mike Wilson
    May 11, 2010

    Good, now all we need to do is set the 'regions' called Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland 'free' and we can stop supporting Labour's massive client state in these regions.

    And, we could have an English parliament too. Maybe that shoudl be part of the offer to the Lib Dems (who have proved themselves to be what I have always suspected – left of Labour and even less competent).

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