South West Regional Assembly

South West Regional Assembly

Infobox public organisation

logo_colour= FFFFFF
full_name= South West Regional Assembly
territory= South West England
hq= Taunton
status= Regional assembly
founded= 1999
The South West Regional Assembly (SWRA) is the regional assembly for the South West region of England, established in 1999. It is based in Taunton. The SWRA is a partnership of councillors from all local authorities in the region and representatives of various sectors with a role in the region's economic, social and environmental well-being. It covers an area of 23,829 square kilometres including Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Wiltshire and the Isles of Scilly, and represents a population of almost five million people.On Tuesday 17 July 2007, Local Government Minister John Healey MP announced Government plans to abolish regional assemblies. Functions of regional assemblies are planned to pass to Regional Development Agencies in 2010. [ [ Dan Rogerson MP - New powers for Cornwall 'In sight'] ] [ [ BBC news July 2007 - Regional assemblies will be axed] ]


The assembly is not a directly elected body but is made up of 119 mostly elected members, of which:

*79 come from the 51 Unitary, County and District Authorities in the South West
*2 represent the National Parks Authorities in the region.
*2 come from the Association of Local Councils.
*36 represent the region’s Social, Economic and Environmental Partners (SEEPs). The SEEPs are drawn from a range of sectors including businesses, the voluntary sector, education and training, environmental bodies, faith communities, trades unions, tourism, health, agriculture, Racial Equality Councils, co-operative agencies, Learning and Skills Councils, Business Links and Culture.

Membership is reviewed by local authorities every year, and changes reflect political proportionality across the region after local elections. The SEEP representatives are nominated by regional Groups and these are reviewed at least every four years, so the Membership is fairly fluid.


The main functions performed by the SWRA include:

* Channelling regional opinions to the business-led Regional Development Agency,
* Carrying out advocacy and consultancy roles with national government bodies and the European Union,
* The Assembly is the Regional Planning Body with a duty to formulate a Regional Spatial Strategy,
* The Assembly is also the Regional Housing Body responsible for producing the Regional Housing Strategy (RHS).

Opposition to SWRA

There was much opposition to the formation of the South West Regional Assembly with critics saying it is an unelected, unrepresentative and unaccountable "quango", and the area covered is an artificially imposed region and not natural. [ [ Mebyon Kernow opposes SWRA] ] This opinion is based upon geography, arguing that having the Isles of Scilly and Cornwall in the same region as Gloucestershire would be comparable as linking London with Yorkshire. [ [ Senedh Kernow] ] The feeling is especially strong in Cornwall where in July 2000 Mebyon Kernow issued the "Declaration for a Cornish Assembly". [ [ Government get Cornish Assembly call] ] In Oct 2007 Lib Dem MP Andrew George stated in a press release, "Just because the Government has approached the whole Regional Devolution agenda in entirely the wrong way, does not mean to say that the project itself should be ditched. If Scotland and London are benefiting from devolution then Cornwall should learn from this and increase the intensity of its own campaign for devolution to a Cornish Assembly." [ [ Andrew George MP - Press Release 29th Oct 2007] ]


External links

* [ South West Regional Assembly]
* [ Campaign for a Cornish Assembly]
* [ Cornish Lib Dems Support Cornish Assembly]

ee also

*South West of England Regional Development Agency

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