The latest we are hearing on the sub-national review is that it won't be out on Wednesday as we originally though but maybe later this week. Either way it's not far off and could significantly add to the jigsaw that will show us what place government has for local government in its future devolutionary world. It could be the nail in local government's devolutionary coffin, of course. There is palpable fear out there that these many announcements coming from No. 10 are offering devolution to regions and neighbourhoods only.
One of the regional ministers, Liam Byrne, who represents the West Midlands, spoke today with LGC about these new posts. He told us, which you can read more about in Thursday's magazine, that the new roles are not expected to mess with 'effective' local partnerships which are already working to boost local economies and facilitate better planning across boundaries. These might be city regions or councils already working on multi-area agreements.
Reading between his lines then, this means that regional ministers could however quite easily end up messing about with regional bodies which aren't cutting the mustard. Interestingly the Centre for Cities has just brought out a new report, Two Track Cities, examining exactly which cities aren't really delivering on their potential in terms of key economic indicators such as jobs and those that are.
If we put two and two together from this and all those other north/south divide reports out there we might be able to figure out which areas might have the busiest regional ministers as a result. That is indeed assuming they will have enough time off their days jobs to do regions justice. Oh yes, still no word on what might happen to regional assemblies.
Added by Nina Lovelace