Northern Echo 18/02/2005
YOUR diagram (Echo, Feb 11) showing the present regional government set-up not only confirms my worst fears about the overloaded bureaucracy which we have to support financially, but makes me wonder how anything ever gets done with so many fingers in every imaginable pie.
If advice, information, consultation and financial management has to go through so many tiers to get from top to bottom and back up again, one has to wonder how many bureaucrats are involved in each operation before grass roots society benefits - if it ever does.
It is surely possible to get the job done without such an army of people, at a much lower cost, while taking account of the needs of those who are supposed really to benefit - those at the bottom of the pile.
It's time for drastic streamlining and ditching the myth that all this regional bureaucracy is essential to achieve efficient local government and development. As an individual, I feel as remote from the top of this hyped up pile as I am from Mars. - RK Bradley, Darlington.
THANKS to Chris Lloyd for his balanced article on the future of North-East government.
From his organisation chart, it is obvious that the North-East assembly could be removed without breaking any of the other links.
We are paying for an extra layer of unnecessary bureaucracy - the very thing we overwhelmingly voted against.
Durham's elected council leaders seem suddenly to have become aware that they are being dictated to by an organisation they cannot influence.
The councils have a mandate from the people to do all in their power to remove an undemocratic wasteful assembly. Their loyalty is not to central government but to the people they represent.
With this in mind I would urge them to follow the example of other regions in the country and to reduce, or preferably withdraw, funding from an un-elected talking shop. - B Gobin Spennymoor.
IN REPLY to Tory Jim Tague (HAS, Feb 10), the North-East Assembly does not get £860,000 council taxpayers' money, I do not have a "canny little number" on it (I am unpaid) and I have never "demonised" those who voted no in the referendum.
I am proposing that, in future, no council money at all should go to the assembly.
Mr Tague says nothing about Tory members of the assembly, nor about the many Tories who sit on the region's 100-plus government-appointed quangos.
The Tories want to replace police authorities with single individuals who, once elected, will be in sole charge of our police forces. This will take yet more power away from local councils.
Labour is no better, abolishing regional committees of the Rail Passengers' Council.
Regional development agency One NorthEast (ONE) is a huge quango which spends millions of public money in the region. It is accountable to the North-East Assembly, which includes business people, trades unions, churches and voluntary organisations, as well as local council representatives. The assembly is the only body which represents the whole of the North-East. Abolishing it would kill our only regional voice and take powers away from local councils, ending their right to call ONE to account.
Unelected, unaccountable quangos, all funded by public money, have mushroomed under Tories and Labour. We need a sensible, informed discussion about how to rationalise this expensive, wasteful and undemocratic system and bring it under local democratic control. - Coun Chris Foote-Wood, Bishop Auckland Liberal Democrats.
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