Regions of England
Highest tier of sub-national division in England / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England, established in 1994. Between 1994 and 2011, nine regions had officially devolved functions within government. While they no longer fulfil this role, they continue to be used for statistical and some administrative purposes. While the UK was a member of the European Union, they defined areas (constituencies) for the purposes of elections to the European Parliament. Eurostat also used them to demarcate first level Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) regions ("NUTS 1 regions") within the European Union, which in 2021 were superseded by International Territorial Level (ITL) regions ("ITL 1 regions"). The regions generally follow the boundaries of the former standard regions, established in the 1940s for statistical purposes.
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The London Region has a directly elected Mayor and Assembly. Six regions have local authority leaders' boards to assist with correlating the headline policies of local authorities. The remaining two regions no longer have any administrative functions, having abolished their regional local authority leaders' boards.
In 1998, regional chambers were established in the eight regions outside London, which produced strategic plans and recommendations to local authorities. Each of the regions also had an associated (central) Government Office with some responsibility for coordinating policy, and, from 2007, a part-time regional minister within the Government. House of Commons regional Select Committees were established in 2009. However, the chambers and select committees were abolished in May 2010, restoring these functions to the main tier of local government, with limited functions transferred to the regional local authority leaders' boards created in 2009. Regional ministers were not reappointed by the incoming Coalition Government, and the Government Offices were abolished in 2011.
From 2011, combined authorities have been introduced in some city regions, with similar responsibilities to the former regional chambers (and in some cases, replacing a regional local authority leaders' board on a smaller scale), but which also receive additional delegated functions from central government relating to transport and economic policy.
Regional development agencies were public bodies established in all nine regions in 1998 to promote economic development. They had certain delegated functions, including administering European Union regional development funds, and received funding from the central government as well. These were abolished in 2012, with statutory functions returning to local authorities and central government; however, smaller scale local enterprise partnerships were voluntarily established to take on some functions relating to coordinating economic priorities and development.