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Monday, July 31, 2006
Regional and urban units merge
Although Kelly announced last week that the institutional review widely expected to merge the Housing Coporation and English Partnerships is being extended into the autumn, some changes are already afoot. The urban policy unit of the Department of Communities and Local Government, formed after the landmark Urban White Paper in 2001 to deliver the 'urban renaissance' and surviving many other shifts and reshuffles, is finally to be merged with the regional policy division.

"It's a logical step because cities and regions drive each other," a senior source said. "A merged body is a better way than having two directors, where there's a risk they may not see eye to eye."

Urban Policy Unit director Professor Mark Kleinman will lead the new Regional, Urban and Economic Policy Directorate. Regional policy director Peter Betts is expected to leave for another division in the department.

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