§ Baroness Mallalieu
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What are their plans for English Partnerships following the creation of regional development agencies. [HL2413]
§ Baroness Hayman
The work of English Partnerships (EP) is to be carried forward in the main by the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) as part of the Government's commitment to put decision-making on regeneration and economic development at the regional level. Regeneration will be part of the RDAs' integrated regional strategies. The roles and functions of EP are to move to the RDAs as they are established; the assets will transfer from EP to the RDAs; and regional EP staff will transfer to the RDAs in April 1999 (and the following year for London).
This is a major organisational change and it will take time for the RDAs to get to grips with their new tasks and establish themselves as influential and credible organisations on the regional, national and international scene. Ministers envisage that there will be a transitional period of about five years when the experience and expertise of EP's remaining national capability will be critical in providing the continuity on some major projects and should also prove useful to RDAs as they bed in.
We are placing in the Library a copy of a note which sets out the background to the changes, the work remaining with EP, and the merger of EP and the Commission for the New Towns in 2000, which we have already announced. The note has been issued to the Government Offices for the Regions and to EP staff.