§ Mr. Peter Atkinson
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what guidance his Department has given the North East Assembly on spending Government funds given to it under the Strengthening Regional Accountability Initiative. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
The Department has awarded the North East Assembly £1.7 million under the regional chambers fund for strengthening regional accountability: £500,000 in 2001–02 and £600,00 in each of 2002–03 and 2003–04. In July 2001, the then Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions issued guidance to the North East Assembly on the operation of the fund. The guidance was updated and re-issued in February 2002; a copy is in the Library. The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has also issued funding agreements to Northumberland county council, the North East Assembly's accountable body, in respect of 2001–02 and 2002–03 and 2003–04 combined.