HL Deb 12 July 2004 vol 663 c126WA
Lord Stoddart of Swindon

asked Her Majesty's Government: What is the purpose of incorporating regional assemblies as private limited liability companies; and what is the legal basis for such incorporation. [HL3545]

Lord Rooker:

The regional chambers—often referred to as assemblies—are voluntary, independent bodies, designated by the Government under the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. Some Chambers are unincorporated bodies while others are incorporated bodies limited by guarantee under the terms of the Companies Act 1985.

Chambers receive government grant to enable them to undertake their scrutiny and regional planning functions. For unincorporated chambers grant is paid to a third party—an "accountable body"—that has the requisite legal status and financial viability to receive government grant. Where a chamber has incorporated then government grant can be paid to it directly.

The Government are not "incorporating" regional chambers, nor have they instructed them to incorporate. An unincorporated chamber may choose to move to incorporated status, but that is a matter for its members to decide for themselves.