Regions of England
English Regions
Category Regions
Location England
Created 1994
Number 9 (as at 2010)
leaders' board (8)
elected assembly (1)
Additional status European Parliament constituency
Populations 2.5–8 million
Areas 1,000–23,000 km²
Government Leaders' Board
Development agency
Greater London Authority
Subdivisions Metropolitan county
Non-metropolitan county
City and London borough
Coat of Arms of the UK Government.

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In England, the region is the highest tier of sub-national division used by central Government. Between 1994 and 2011, the nine regions had an administrative role in the implementation of UK Government policy, and as the areas covered by (mostly indirectly) elected bodies. They are defined as first level NUTS regions ("NUTS 1 regions") within the European Union.

The London region is coterminous with the administrative area of Greater London, which has a directly elected Mayor and Assembly. The other eight regions have Local authority leaders' boards, which have limited powers and functions delegated by Central Government departments, with members appointed by local government bodies. These boards replaced indirectly elected Regional Assemblies, which were established in 1994 and undertook a range of co-ordinating, lobbying, scrutiny and strategic planning functions until their abolition.

Each region also had a Government Office with some responsibility for coordinating policy, and, from 2007 to 2010, each also had its own part-time regional minister within the Government. In 2009 the House of Commons established regional Select Committees for each of the regions outside of London. These committees ceased to exist upon the dissolution of Parliament on 12 April 2010 and were not re-established by the newly elected House.[1] Regional ministers were not reappointed by the incoming Coalition Government, and the Government Offices were abolished in 2011.

Background and early proposals[]

In the second half of the first millennium, after about 500AD, the heptarchy divided England into territories of roughly the same order of magnitude as modern regions. During Oliver Cromwell's Protectorate in the 1650s, the rule of the Major-Generals also created similarly-sized regions.

The division of England into a number of administrative regions was first considered by the British government shortly prior to the First World War. In 1912 the Third Home Rule Bill was passing through parliament. The Bill was expected to introduce a devolved parliament for Ireland, and as a consequence calls were made for similar structures to be introduced in Great Britain or "Home Rule All Round". On September 12 the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, gave a speech in which he proposed 10 or 12 regional parliaments for the United Kingdom. Within England, he suggested that London, Lancashire, Yorkshire and the Midlands would make natural regions.[2][3] While the creation of regional parliaments never became official policy, it was for a while widely anticipated and various schemes for dividing England devised.[4][5] By the 1930s, several competing systems of regions were adopted by central government for such purposes as census of population, agriculture, electricity supply, civil defence and the regulation of road traffic.[6]

Creation of some form of provinces or regions for England was an intermittent theme of post-Second World War British governments. The Redcliffe-Maud Report proposed the creation of eight provinces in England, which would see power devolved from central government. Edward Heath's administration in the 1970s did not create a regional structure in the Local Government Act 1972, waiting for the Royal Commission on the Constitution, after which government efforts were concentrated on a constitutional settlement in Scotland and Wales for the rest of the decade. In England, the majority of the Commission "suggested regional coordinating and advisory councils for England, consisting largely of indirectly elected representatives of local authorities and operating along the lines of the Welsh advisory council". One-fifth of the advisory councils would be nominees from central government. The boundaries suggested were the "eight now [in 1973] existing for economic planning purposes, modified to make boundaries to conform with the new county structure".[7][8] A minority report by Lord Crowther-Hunt and Alan Peacock suggested instead seven regional assemblies and governments within Great Britain (five within England), which would take over substantial amounts of the central government.[9]

Regions as areas of administration, 1994-2011[]

In April 1994 the John Major government created a set of ten Government Office Regions for England. Prior to 1994, although various central government departments had different regional offices, the regions they used tended to be different and ad hoc. The stated purpose was as a way of co-ordinating the various regional offices more effectively: they initially involved the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Employment, Department of Transport and the Department for the Environment.[10] Following the Labour Party's victory in the 1997 general election, the government created Regional Development Agencies. Around a decade later the Labour administration also founded the Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships (RIEPs) with £185m of devolved funding to enhance councils' capacity to improve and take the lead in their own improvement.

The Maastricht Treaty encouraged the creation of regional boundaries for selection of members for the Committee of the Regions of the European Union: Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland had each constituted a region, but England represents such a large proportion of the population of the United Kingdom that further division was thought necessary. The English regions, which initially numbered ten, also replaced the Standard Statistical Regions. Merseyside originally constituted a region in itself, but in 1998 it was merged into the North West England region, creating the nine present-day regions.[11] Since 1999, the nine regions have also been used as England's European Parliament constituencies[12] and as statistical NUTS level 1 regions. Since 1 July 2006, there have also been ten NHS Strategic Health Authorities, each of which corresponds to a region, except for South East England, which is divided into western and eastern parts. Template:England Labelled Map In 1998, Regional Assemblies were created in the eight English regions outside London. They were originally called "Regional Chambers" in the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998.[13] The powers of the assemblies were limited, and members were appointed, largely by local authorities, rather than being directly elected. The functions of the English regions were essentially devolved to them from Government departments or were taken over from pre-existing regional bodies, such as regional planning conferences and regional employers' organisations. Each assembly also made proposals for the UK members of the Committee of the Regions, with members drawn from the elected councillors of the local authorities in the region. The final nominations were made by central government.[14]

As power was to be devolved to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales without a counterweight in England, a series of referendums were planned to establish elected regional assemblies in some of the regions. The first was held in London in 1998 and was passed. The London Assembly and Mayor of London of the Greater London Authority were created in 2000. A referendum was held in North East England on 4 November 2004 but the proposal for an elected assembly was rejected. Plans to hold further referendums in other regions were then cancelled, for fear of further rejections.

In 2007 a Treasury Review for new Prime Minister Gordon Brown recommended that greater powers should be given to local authorities and that the Regional Assemblies should be phased out of existence by 2010.[15] The same year, nine Regional Ministers were appointed by the incoming Gordon Brown government. Their primary goal was stated as being to improve communication between central government and the regions of England.[16] The assemblies were effectively replaced by smaller Local Authority Leaders’ Boards between 2008 and 2010, and formally abolished on 31 March 2010, as part of a "Sub-National Review of Economic Development and Regeneration". Most of their functions transferred to the relevant Regional Development Agency and to Local Authority Leaders' Boards.[17]

In June 2010, the incoming Coalition Government announced its intentions to abolish regional strategies and return spatial planning powers to local government. These plans include the withdrawal of funding to the existing eight Local Authority Leaders' Boards, with their statutory functions also being assumed by local councils. The boards in most cases continue to exist as voluntary associations of council leaders, funded by the local authorities themselves.[18][19][20] No appointments as Regional Ministers were made by the incoming UK government in 2010.

These changes did not affect the directly elected London Assembly, which was established by separate legislation as part of the Greater London Authority. In 2011, Greater London remains administered by the Greater London Authority, which consists of an elected London Assembly and a separately elected Mayor of London.

NUTS 1 statistical regions[]

The Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics (NUTS) is a geocode standard for referencing the subdivisions of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland for statistical purposes. The NUTS code for the UK is UK and there are 12 first level regions within the state. Within the UK, there are 9 such regions in England, together with Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The standard is developed and regulated by the European Union (EU). The NUTS standard is instrumental in delivering the EU's Structural Funds. A hierarchy of three levels is established by Eurostat. The sub-structure corresponds to administrative divisions within the country. Formerly, the further NUTS divisions (IV and V) existed; these have now been replaced by Local Administrative Units (LAU-1 and LAU-2 respectively).

Subdivisions of England[]

Local government in England does not follow a uniform structure. Therefore each region is divided into a range of further subdivisions. London is divided into London boroughs while the other regions are divided into metropolitan counties, shire counties and unitary authorities. Counties are further divided into districts and some areas are also parished. Regions are also divided into sub-regions which usually group socio-economically linked local authorities together. However, the sub-regions have no official status and are little-used other than for strategic planning purposes.

List of regions[]

  1. East Midlands
  2. East of England
  3. Greater London
  4. North East England
  5. North West England
  6. South East England
  7. South West England
  8. West Midlands
  9. Yorkshire and the Humber

See also[]


  1. ^ Department of the Official Report (Hansard), House of Commons, Westminster (2010-05-27). "House of Commons Hansard Debates for 27 May 2010 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  2. ^ Local Parliaments For England. Mr. Churchill's Outline Of A Federal System, Ten Or Twelve Legislatures, The Times, September 13, 1912, p.4
  3. ^ "G. K. Peatling, ''Home Rule for England, English Nationalism, and Edwardian Debates about Constitutional Reform'' in ''Albion: A Quarterly Journal Concerned with British Studies'', Vol. 35, No. 1. (Spring, 2003), pp.71-90, accessed December 16, 2007". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  4. ^ In 1917 the Royal Geographical Society debated a paper by C.B. Fawcett that detailed 12 provinces he considered to be the "natural divisions of England". Detailed boundaries were proposed with regional capitals designated on the basis of the possession of universities or university colleges. C. B. Fawcett, Natural Divisions of England in The Geographical Journal, Vol. 49, No. 2. (Feb., 1917), pp. 124-135, accessed November 28, 2007
  5. ^ In 1919 Fawcett expanded his paper into a book entitled the Provinces of England, and a similar system of regions was proposed by G.D.H. Cole in The Future of Local Government in 1921. In 1920 the Ministry of Health published its own proposals for 15 provinces, subdivided into 59 regions E. W. Gilbert, Practical Regionalism in England and Wales in The Geographical Journal, Vol. 94, No. 1. (Jul., 1939), pp. 29-44. Accessed November 28, 2007
  6. ^ "E. W. Gilbert, ''Practical Regionalism in England and Wales'' in ''The Geographical Journal'', Vol. 94, No. 1. (Jul., 1939), pp. 29-44. Accessed November 28, 2007". Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  7. ^ Whitehall powers would go to Scotland, Wales and regions, but no full self-government. The Times. November 1, 1973.
  8. ^ More freedom for Scots, Welsh in proposals to region regions. The Times. November 1, 1973.
  9. ^ Dissenters urge plan for seven assemblies. The Times. November 1, 1973.
  10. ^ Devolution and British Politics. Chapter 10. English regional government : Christopher Stevens
  11. ^ National Statistics - Beginners' guide to UK geography
  12. ^
  13. ^ Regional Development Agencies Act 1998
  14. ^ Committee of the Regions - Appointing the UK delegation
  15. ^ HM Treasury Press Release 79/07 - 17th July, 2007
  16. ^ Regional Ministers at Government Offices webpage. Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  17. ^ eGov monitor - Planning transfer undermines democracy. 29 November 2007
  18. ^ "In Full: The projects axed or suspended by government". BBC News. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  19. ^ "Scrapping regional bureaucracy will save millions - Newsroom - Department for Communities and Local Government". 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2010-11-24. 
  20. ^ "1 Horse Guards Road" (PDF). Retrieved 2010-11-24. 

External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Regions of England. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.