D.65 The General Election 2010 saw considerable change to the political composition of the South West. Following the election, the distribution of seats in the region led to an overall Conservative majority, with many constituencies swinging from Labour to Conservative. Historically the South West has had a strong showing for the Liberal Democrats; this remains the case although the Liberal Democrats did lose one seat in the region, at the last election.
D.66 People in the South West are keen to exercise their right to vote, with consistently higher turnout rates than other parts of the country. This was apparent again last May, with the South West seeing the highest turnout rate, when compared with all other government regions.
D.67 With a reduction in audit and monitoring processes, and the plans set out in the Localism Bill for greater devolution, local authorities are now working with increased flexibility and freedom. However budget cuts announced in the Comprehensive Spending Review of October 2010 are having wide ranging impacts within local governance and the public sector as a whole. Whilst the regional government tier has been abolished under the current government, new subnational arrangements are being developed to encourage and foster future partnership working, particularly between the public and private sector. These arrangements are in their infancy, with the months and years ahead doubtless providing interesting and challenging times.