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23:21 on Sunday
16 October 2005

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BCC on elected regional assemblies

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Reacting to the overwhelming 'No' vote in the North East Elected Regional Assembly Referendum, British Chambers of Commerce Director General, David Frost, said:

British Chambers of Commerce - Chamber Online

"This referendum result is no surprise to business. The sheer scale of the opposition clearly demonstrates the Government’s failure to listen to the serious misgivings that were expressed prior to the vote.

“A recent poll of North-East Chamber of Commerce members found that 74% intended to vote against the proposals. Key concerns were cost and a lack of genuine devolution. John Prescott arrogantly dismissed the overwhelming views of businesses in the North East and openly rubbished them. It is outrageous that the Government flatly refused to listen and instead resorted to political point-scoring. Business has never been opposed to the principle of devolution but merely offering additional bureaucracy without genuine power has never and can never be acceptable.

“These proposals looked set to strangle business with red tape and extra taxation, without offering the benefits of increased productivity, economic activity and skills that a genuinely powerful regional assembly might have brought to the region. Huge sums of money have been wasted and all that we are left with is uncertainty and confusion. Further moves to establish Assemblies are now unlikely.”

 November 2004




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