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ERIC Number: EJ877371
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0955-2308
What's Happening to Regional Policy?
Ravenhall, Mark
Adults Learning, v16 n5 p26-30 Jan 2005
Back in November, voters in the North East of England overwhelmingly rejected the move towards an elected regional assembly. The scale of the defeat (three to one) of a Government-backed scheme was a rude awakening for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the range of regional agencies created since 1997. After all, it was felt that the North East was a "safe bet", referenda having been deferred in the supposedly more difficult arenas of Yorkshire and Humberside and the North West. The campaign was also a wake-up call for local government, which stands to be the main loser in establishing a democratically accountable regional tier of government. The national press, if not exactly full of stories on the subject, also showed signs of waking up to the implications of a regional policy that will affect not just employment, education and skills, but also how citizens engage with these. So why this interest in regionalisation? Why all this activity? The clue is in the subtitle to the 2002 white paper on the subject: "Revitalising the English Regions." The view is that the regions need new life breathing into their economies and the way they engage with their citizenry. A strong case has been made from an economic perspective as to the benefits of regionalisation. This argument derives from classical economics and has been largely unchallenged in debates within the learning and skills sector. Classical economics has it that there are three "factors of production": (1) land; (2) capital; and (3) labour. In a geographical context, only capital is truly mobile; it is not dependent on location. Land is largely a given. But labour is the most accessible to policy intervention. The Government's position is that the negative productivity gap (between the UK and other developed countries) is a "skills problem", at least in part. It recognises other factors such as the use of new or more productive technologies. In fact, technology is often cited as a fourth "factor of production". But in order to develop and use new technologies there are issues around skills (having the ability to invent, innovate, access and use) and capital (the ability to purchase or lease). In this article, the author explores how recent changes in the English regions could affect adult learning. (Contains 1 table.)
National Institute of Adult Continuing Education. Renaissance House, 20 Princess Road West, Leicester, LE1 6TP, UK. Tel: +44-1162-044200; Fax: +44-1162-044262; e-mail: enquiries@niace.org.uk; Web site: http://www.niace.org.uk/publications/adults-learning
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom; United Kingdom (England)