Liverpool Faces `Nightmare' If It Ignores Assembly Issue; What Do You Think? Email Us with Your Views at Letters@ Dailypost.Co.Uk, or Write to Us at the Address on Page 10

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A GOVERNMENT minister last night warned that Liverpool faced a ``nightmare scenario'' if it chose not to have an elected regional assembly, while other regions in the north of England went ahead.

The claim was made by Nick Raynsford,minister for local and regional government, who spoke at a meeting in the city centre ab out the benefits of the North West having its own assembly.

The North West is one of three regions -along with the North East,and Yorkshire and the Humber -where the Government hopes to set up regional assemblies by 2006.

But people in each of the regions will first be given a referendum,due to be held this autumn,on whether they want to see one established in their area.

Mr Raynsford denied an assembly would be a talking shop: ``Ask people in London whether they would go bac

to the situation bef ore there was an equivalent regional assembly in the form of the Greater London Authority. That is one of the most economically successful regions in the country,and it is ab solutely vital the northern regions have a strong voice.

``If we are to close the gap, there has got to be a strong voice in the North West. The nightmare scenario would be if the North East,and Yorkshire and the Humber went ahead,and the North West didn't.That could be a serious disadvantage.''

Mr Raynsford added that a regional assembly would be good for Liverpool in the build-up to the European Capital of Culture celebrations in 2008.

He said: ``Liverpool is coming bac

from a difficult period. A regional assembly will be able to contribute substantially to the Capital of Culture and build on it. Liverpool is already beg inning the transformation. …