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Devolution, the governance of regional development and the Trade Union Congress in the North East region of England

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Peter O'Brien, Professor Andy Pike, Professor John Tomaney



The devolution and regionalisation of political and administrative structures following the election of New Labour in 1997 have changed the nature of the state and territorial development and governance in the UK. A regional and sub-national tier has opened up within the existing multi-layered governance system operating at the supra-national, national and local scales. This 'new institutional space' is increasingly open to the participation of social institutions-including trade unions-in economic and social governance. Drawing upon empirical analysis of the experience of the Northern Trade Union Congress (NTUC) in the North East region of England, the paper argues that the NTUC-in contrast to its national organisation-is beginning to engage with the emergent institutional structures but its role is inhibited by the centralised strategy and structure of the TUC nationally, its own need for upgrading, capacity building and greater financial resources and the interaction between the North East's particular legacy of tripartite corporatism and the more pluralist modes of regional development governance emerging in the English regions. Unless such issues are addressed regional trade union centres-such as the NTUC-risk remaining relatively junior partners in the emergent regional governance structures. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Brien P, Pike A, Tomaney J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Geoforum

Year: 2004

Volume: 35

Issue: 1

Pages: 59-68

Print publication date: 01/01/2004

ISSN (print): 0016-7185

ISSN (electronic): 1872-9398


DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2003.05.001


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