Good news, for some, but not for all. Yesterday, Vince Cable’s Department for Business, Innovation & Skills announced arrangements for the winding-up of the Regional Devastation Agencies. Wessex will breathe a sigh of relief now that their reign of tendentious mediocrity is drawing to a close. Wessex does not need ‘development’. It needs conservation, along with the rest of our abused planet. Instead, with ‘local economic partnerships’ filling the void, we are promised, according to Cable’s department, “a new economic delivery landscape”. No joined-up thinking is allowed, no imaginative marketing of the Wessex regional brand. It all comes down under the Coalition to something as boring as functional labour market areas instead.
Bad news, for some, but not for all. The assets built up by the RDAs are not to be handed over to local communities as we have argued they should be. At least not in Wessex. In most cases they are to be sold, to help pay off the Government’s silly, imaginary debt to the banks (who created the debt out of nothing, like all bank-created money). There is an exception. In London, all the assets of the London Development Agency will pass to the Greater London Authority, to “give the GLA an important portfolio of regeneration assets to support its new responsibilities for housing and regeneration”. London, apparently, is a functional labour market area, and a world city too. So, it’s all right then, isn’t it, that we wurzels should slave for its benefit and be denied a voice of our own?