Whilst we may not have directly elected Regional Assemblies in the UK we do have Regional Assemblies none the less. They are usually made up of councillors from within the region and expenses and allowances are paid to the senior positions. For example, the Chair of the South East Regional Assembly receives approximately 12K, in addition to his salary as Leader of Oxfordshire County Council.
Now you may be wondering what these organisations do. Having spoken with a few Communications departments this morning it would appear that the answer is not very much. Largely they write documents that form part of the "debate". One of the websites says, they're "a leading player in the region with a 'voice'" (those are their quote around voice not mine).
The large majority of their funding comes from central Government, specifcally the Department of Communities and Local Government. Having done a little search the total amount from the DCLG is just short of £20 million a year. The scary thing is that nearly 50% of all that money is spent on salaries and member allowances. Just for reference:
- SouthEast Regional Assembly - £4m
- SouthWest Regional Assembly - £2.8m
- NorthEast Regional Assembly - £1.8m
- NorthWest Regional Assembly - £2m
- West Midlands Regional Assembly - £2.5m
- East Midlands Regional Assembly - £2.1m
- East of England Regional Assembly - £2.1m
- Yorkshire and Humber Assembly - £2.1m
N.B. London has been left out.