The confirmed closure of a London regional development agency (RDA) office has been followed by the announcement that nine other offices may be cut from the government budget as well.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said: “[the offices] are not voices of the regions in Whitehall. They are agents of Whitehall to interfere in localities.”
The regional offices were created to provide localised government services to specific areas but Pickles said they were no longer needed due to the birth of the internet age where communication has excelled.
The scrapping of the London office will be followed by the closure of offices in the Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber, the north-east, south-west and east of England.
About 1700 staff are employed within the offices.
Shadow communities secretary John Denham said: “The decision leaves English regions without any way of co-ordinating economic development, major infrastructure projects and the effective co-ordination of public services for local people”.
He continued: “In government we laid out proposals in our budget in March for making significant savings in regional government but retaining the crucial role of effective co-ordination of programmes which supports growth and jobs. What we now see with the abolishing of the government offices along with regional development agencies is the abandonment of much of England to Whitehall power”.
The move to abolish RDAs will save the government £125 million.