Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Chang-Hee Christine Bae and Sang-Chuel Choe
Chapter 9: Regional Development Agencies in England
9. Regional Development Agencies in England Harry W. Richardson The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) in England were established by the Regional Development Agencies Act of 1998 and began to operate in April 1999. There were originally eight, but a ninth (the smallest geographically, but the largest in terms of population, the London RDA) was set up a year later following the establishment of the Greater London Authority (see Figure 9.1 for the RDA boundaries). A major aspect of the RDA strategy was the creation of a parallel institution, a Regional Assembly, in each RDA area. In the discussions leading up to the 1998 Act and for some time afterwards, it was intended that these Assemblies would be directly elected, bringing a valuable bottom-up democratic component to the approach. Yet, eight of the nine assemblies were not directly elected. Two-thirds of their members were appointees from the county and district councils and unitary authorities, with one-third appointed from other local interest groups. The one exception was the London Assembly, with 25 directly elected members. Its role was defined in a separate piece of legislation, the Greater London Authority Act of 1999, and revived the long democratic tradition of Greater London as represented by the Greater London Council that was abolished by the Conservative government in 1986. A decision to abolish the Regional Assemblies was made in 2007 and the decision to abolish RDAs altogether was made in 2010 by the new coalition government. The RDAs are a good test of whether...
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