HL Deb 25 March 2003 vol 646 c67WA
The Earl of Caithness

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What powers and functions which the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister currently exercises will be transferred to the proposed regional assemblies.[HL2176]

The Minister of State, Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (Lord Rooker)

The Government's proposals on the functions of elected regional assemblies are set out in chapter 4 of the White PaperYour Region, Your Choice (Cm 5511). Of these, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is currently responsible for the functions relating to planning, housing and management of the European Development Fund.

Elected assemblies will take their functions from central government, its agencies and public bodies in the regions. In respect of these policy areas, elected assemblies will become the regional planning bodies and take responsibility for allocating housing capital investment in their regions. Responsibility for publishing the regional spatial strategy and the regional housing strategy will be transferred from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

Regional development agencies, which are the responsibility of the Department of Trade and Industry, also deliver regeneration and economic development objectives for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and receive substantial funding from the office. Responsibility for the regional development agencies will also transfer to elected regional assemblies.

As the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister stated in the White Paper (paragraph 4.5), this package of assembly functions reflects the way in which these functions are currently organised. However, the Government are keen further to decentralise responsibility for policy and delivery where this will improve regional outcomes. There are likely to be further proposals for the decentralisation of responsibilities to elected regional assemblies as time goes on.