Saturday, 14 June 2008

Multi-Area Agreements (MAAs)

Few people outside local government will be familiar with MAAs. However, Multi-Area Agreements (MAAs) have been quietly developing for some time and the Tees Valley MAA will be one of the first in the country.

The Mayor has approved MAA’s for regeneration, housing and transport. Control of these will pass to a Board consisting of 11 members. The five Tees Valley Local Authorities will get one seat each. The other six go to private sector representatives. This makes a majority of the Board appointed rather than elected. Hartlepool’s sole representative will be appointed by the Mayor from his cabinet. A majority of unaccountable and unelected interests on such a powerful body must be a worry to anyone who still clings to the belief that they live in a democracy.

Hartlepool’s Housing, transport and regeneration policies will now be set by a majority of individuals who are totally unaccountable to Hartlepool voters. This must ring alarm bells for anyone who remembers how badly Hartlepool suffered under the control of Cleveland Country. The Tees Valley MAA could turn out to be worse. MAAs came about because the Regional Assembly concept was rejected by the North East electorate and so another way was needed to remove the troublesome ability of voters to influence who makes decisions that affect their lives. As the Lib/Lab/Con are now effectively just separate branches of the same Party this means the One Party State is almost upon us anyway so British Democracy R.I.P.

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