"In answer to a letter from Mr. Steve Machin, Chief Executive of the NW Regional Assembly, on the Regional Assemblies Bill."

27th November, 2002.

Dear Mr. Machin,

Thank you for your letter informing me of the publication of the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill. You will not be surprised to learn that I, the Conservative Party and many other non-political but long-suffering North West residents are, at best, resigned and, at worst, appalled by further evidence of the Government's wasteful and overly-bureaucratic approach to regional affairs.

This misguided policy:

Will introduce a wholly unnecessary extra layer of interference in local people's lives

• Will be a huge financial burden upon Council Taxpayers

• Will be completely unrepresentative of the demographic structure of a region which is but a figment of a civil servant's convenience

• Will damage and possibly destroy historic County Councils, such as Lancashire, Cheshire, and Cumbria

• Is unwanted by the electorate

• Is dismissed as an expensive irrelevance by business and commerce

• Will merely build an empire of bureaucrats, busybodies and Labour Brethren, with "Ministerial" cars, offices, expense accounts and other "jobs for the boys".

You may rest assured that I and many of my political colleagues will campaign vigorously against these foolhardy and misconceived proposals, believing as we do in a strong and influential regional policy which links the existing local government structure and elected representatives, at all levels, with industry, voluntary organisations and Government at little extra cost to the taxpayer.

Additionally, we want to strengthen the authority of County and Parish/Town Councils not diminish it, thereby developing an influential presence in Whitehall and Brussels, as well as taking on more powers that are currently exercised by Government. We wish to be closer to the people of the North West and their needs not further distanced by a ridiculous and unnecessary "assembly".

It may be appropriate to take up your invitation to meet and I will be in touch in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins MEP

Steve Machin, Esq.,
Chief Executive,
North West Regional Assembly,
Coops Building,
Dorning Street,
WN1 1HJ.

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