The region is currently the highest level of local government in England. The present policy of the UK Government is to increase the power of government at the regional level, as part of the "devolution" that led to elected assemblies in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and part of the concept of regions in the EU. Critics claim that the English regions are largely artificial; and are largely based on those devised by the UK government in the Second World War for coordinating civil defence in England.
Some people in the Northern regions, (North East England, North West England, and Yorkshire and the Humber) have expressed interest in having elected assemblies, and the Labour Government plans to hold referenda there in the near future. Elected assemblies are to be introduced in each region if desired by the population of the region in question.
However, there is also opposition to the introduction of such assemblies. Opponents of regionalism argue that instead of decentralising power from London, the new tier of government will simply take power away from county councils, and that the assemblies will be far weaker than those in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
There are nine regions, each with a government office and a few associated institutions, including a Regional Development Agency (RDA), known by different names in different regions, such as ONE North East, Yorkshire Forward, Advantage West Midlands, and EMDA (East Midlands Development Agency). Greater London is a special case because it has an elected mayor and is governed by the London Assembly.
- North East England
- North West England
- Yorkshire and the Humber
- West Midlands
- East Midlands -
- East of England
- South West England
- Greater London
- South East England
- North - current North East plus Cumbria
- North West - current North West less Cumbria
- Yorkshire and Humberside - as now
- West Midlands - as now
- East Midlands - as now
- East Anglia - Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cambridgeshire
- South West - as now
- South East - as now, plus Greater London, Bedfordshire, Essex, and Hertfordshire