Since 1997 the New Labour Government have introduced a number of significant (and potentially far reaching) reforms to the governance of Britain. They include the creation of a parliament in Scotland, assemblies in Wales and Northern Ireland, an elected mayor and assembly in Greater London and development agencies and assemblies in the English regions. At the same time reforms to the structure and decision-making at local authority level have been introduced. The changes to local government decision making with the option of directly elected mayors or cabinet style leadership have, to some extent, been overshadowed by the formation of Local Strategic Partnerships. The Government has announced its intention to legislate for referenda on the creation of directly elected regional assemblies. This article reflects upon the unresolved issues, which this latest proposal highlights. In particular, it examines the extent to which directly elected assemblies have the potential to redress the democratic deficit at local and regional levels. It suggests that the model on offer cannot be imposed without a significant renegotiation of the political, economic, organisational and social settlement at the local level. A regional level of decision-making leaves unanswered the complexities of arrangements at the local and sub-regional levels. The article draws upon the experience of the North East and North West where competing city regions and the needs of rural areas may conflict with the concept of a known and recognised region.