Questions & answers
Q&A | Submit a question

Here are some of the questions which people have asked us about WMCC. We have answered them as fully as we can. If you have a question of your own, please submit it on the form at foot of the page. If contact details are supplied we will send you a personal reply. If we consider your question to be of wider interest it will be added to this page.

How would I benefit from democratically elected regional government? 

How is the West Midlands governed now?

Won't Regional Government lead to the break up of the UK and undermine the Westminster Parliament?

Isn't all this debate about Regional Government going to increase further decisions about our lives being taken in Brussels?

WMCC defines the West Midlands region according to the official government definition. What is it and why must you use it?

Is the purpose of WMCC to campaign for an elected regional assembly?

(Photo: the West Midlands includes rural as well as urban areas)
 Q. How would I benefit from democratically elected regional government? 
 A.

Decisions taken about the the West Midlands Region affect you, your family, your career and your quality of life in many different ways.

At present, the West Midlands is losing out to other parts of the UK, especially London, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are particularly disadvantaged in terms of investment, public services and the economic infrastructure. All this significantly reduces our quality of life.

It has been estimated that Scotland (with a similar population) receives £6billion more in public investment than the West Midlands. This means they get four times as much money per head of population. Yet the West Midlands population is poorer than that of Scotland and relies more heavily on social security payments to supplement personal income.

Because a democratically elected regional government is locally accountable, it would be motivated to fight for a better deal for the people of the West Midlands. In addition, money would be spent in ways that respond directly to the needs of the population. This means more jobs, better roads, improved access to education and altogether a better standard of living.

(Photo: Could children benefit from regional democracy?)


Q&A
 Q. How is the West Midlands governed now?
 A.

The present administration consists of a large number of agencies including the regional arms of central government departments, the Regional Office of the West Midlands, agencies for benefits, employment and countryside. Without exception, the people who run these organisations are appointed or employed by central government.

These quasi-governmental organsations (QUANGOS) are responsible for public expenditure totalling £8,000 million, not including spending by the region's local authorities (£5,600 million) and social security payments.

Q&A
 Q. Won't Regional Government lead to the break up of the UK and undermine the Westminster Parliament?
 A.

We argue that local accountability and local responsibility at regional level will strengthen rather than weaken the UK. It may also contribute to renewed enthusiasm for representative democracy through the ballot box. In terms of domestic policy, Westminster now deals largely with matters relating to England rather than the UK as a whole. It is nevertheless overloaded and unable to discharge its responsiblities effectively. Devolution and delegation to the regions will allow Westminster to focus on UK business more effectively than is possible at present.

Q&A
 Q. Isn't all this debate about Regional Government going to increase further decisions about our lives being taken in Brussels?
 A.

No, we believe that strong regional government will ensure that the interests of the people of the West Midlands are taken into account both at Westminster and in Brussels. We are campaigning for devolution not centralisation of power. For this reason we want our voice at Westminster, the European Union and the rest of the world to be strong and representative as possible.

Q&A
 Q. WMCC defines the West Midlands region according to the official government definition. What is it and why must you use it?
 A.

The West Midlands comprises; Herefordshire, Shropshire (including Telford and Wrekin), Staffordshire (including Stoke-on-Trent), Warwickshire (including Coventry), Worcestershire, the Metropolitan areas of Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Dudley, Walsall and Wolverhampton. Some government departments use different boundaries but this is the most widely used. Altogether there are nine English Regions: North West, North East, Yorkshire and Humberside, West Midlands, the East Midlands, Eastern England, South East, London and the South West. London already has democratically elected government.

Since its re-election the present government has stated its intention to publish a White Paper setting out its plans for regional government. If we are to be successful in influencing this policy-making process we must have a common basis for discussion. For the present, at least, that means using the government's own definitions and working within existing boundaries. Later, when the idea of democratic accountability becomes more widely accepted, it may be possible to campaign for boundaries to be changed.

 

(Photo: the West Midlands includes some of the largest urban areas outside London)

 

 

Q&A
 Q. Is the purpose of WMCC to campaign for an elected regional assembly?
 A.

Yes it is. WMCC members have now agreed that the establishment of such a body is necessary to ensure democratically accountable regional government.

We now hold that the establishment of a directly elected regional assembly will encourage less bureaucratic and wasteful modes of working among the agencies concerned. It will also encourage closer cooperation between these organisations.

This decision has been taken after careful consideration of evidence from research carried out by WMCC and others. It is an advance on our original terms of reference which were simply to inform people and promote debate.

(Photo: WMCC's conclusions are based on thorough investigation and discussion of different forms of regional government)

Submit a question

"You can choose to remain anonymous"

 Your question

 

 
Contact details: (We will reply to your question if a contact address is supplied)
 
Name (optional)  
 

 Postal address (optional)

 
Organisation
(optional)  
E-mail address (optional)  


Q&A

Now click on the "Send" button

If you prefer not to use the online form you can submit the same information by phone, fax or post to the address given below 

West Midlands Constitutional Convention
C/o Cllr Phil Davis,
PO Box 213
Telford TF3 4LD.
Tel: 01952 202451
phil.davis@wrekin.gov.uk