TONY BLAIR'S cabinet reshuffle has given renewed importance to planning and regeneration policy, the ICE and Local Government Association (LGA) said this week.
Spokesmen for both organisations welcomed news that the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) would have two cabinet positions in the new administration.
David Miliband, tipped as a potential future party leader, will serve as minister for communities and local government, joining deputy prime minister John Prescott on the front bench.
ICE municipal board chairman Doug Pigg said the move placed 'even more emphasis' on local government.
'It already had a pretty high profi through the ODPM and it has even more profile now.' GA regeneration board chairman Chris White said: 'The alternative universe is that the ODPM could have been broken up, with the importance of planning and regeneration being downgraded. But that doesn't seem to be the case. In fact, it seems to be the opposite.' County Surveyors Society (CSS) vice president John Deegan added: 'The existence of two cabinet ministers dealing with local government has to be a good thing.' Also within the ODPM, Yvette Cooper becomes minister for housing and planning, while Phil Woolas is the new junior minister for local government.