Local government for the regions is happening. Scotland and Wales already have their own parliaments, the North-East may have a regional assembly and the possibility remains that other areas will follow. We can argue about the true boundaries of East Anglia and how our ideas differ from what is currently defined as the East of England (Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, Essex, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire) but we can't ignore the fact that a considerable amount of Government decision making and spending is carried out regionally.
I recently had the privilege of contributing to the process of formulating the strategy for the East of England Development Agency (EFDA) and what struck me was the power and influence this organisation has over our lives.
Major items likely to be included in the EEDA strategy for the next 10 years include:
Communications: the number one at my conference was roads, but electronic communication will also feature strongly (Broadband to every village?)
Environmental Technologies (renewable energy generation - wind farms)
Skills and Knowledge shortages
The effect of EU enlargement, which includes an increasing market place for the export of goods and services, but the influx of labour to fill the skills shortages (see above)
The decline of Research and Development, and the need to encourage entrepreneurs to start their own businesses.
Other regional bodies that exert influence and control, and spend our money, include Go-East (the Government Office for the Eastern Region), EERA (East of England Regional Assembly) and the Strategic Health Authority, the East of England Tourist Board and lots of small bodies such as the East of England Innovation Relay Centre (EEIRC) and the obscure InvestEast of England.