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Session 1997-98
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Arrangement of Clauses (Contents)

Regional Development Agencies Bill
     The Bill makes provision for establishing regional development agencies ("the agencies") in the nine regions of England; and for the transfer of property, staff and functions from the Urban Regeneration Agency and the Development Commission to the agencies and other public bodies.
     Clause 1 and Schedule 1 provide for England to be split into nine areas, defined by local government areas, named East Midlands, Eastern, London, North East, North West, South East, South West, West Midlands and Yorkshire and the Humber, and for a development agency to be established for each region.
     Clause 2 makes provision concerning the constitution of the agencies. Members with relevant experience will be appointed by the Secretary of State following consultation with interested parties in the region. Schedule 2 is introduced by Clause 2 and makes detailed provision concerning the appointment, remuneration and pensions of the members, the chairman and deputy chairman, and the staff of the agencies. It also makes provision regarding the proceedings of the agencies including arrangements for members who may have an interest in matters being considered by the agencies.
     Clause 3 provides that the agencies shall not be regarded as Crown servants or as enjoying Crown status or privileges.{emshp}Activities
     Clause 4 sets out the purposes of the agencies. Clause 5 provides for the agencies to do anything expedient for their purposes, subject to limitations on giving financial assistance, disposing of land, acquiring interests in bodies corporate and providing housing.
     Clause 6 makes provision for a Minister of the Crown to delegate functions to an agency. It provides that the function must be appropriate for the agency and cannot consist of the power to make regulations or set fees or charges. Functions may only be so delegated with an agency's agreement, unless the delegation is to all agencies. Schedule 3 makes certain detailed provisions regarding the transfer of property, rights and liabilities to the agencies in the consequence of delegations under the clause.
     Clause 7 requires the agencies to formulate and keep under review strategies in relation to their purposes and to have regard to them in exercising their functions. The Secretary of State may issue guidance and directions on the strategies.
     Clause 8 provides for the Secretary of State to direct agencies to consult with bodies which are representative of those in their respective regions with an interest in their work. Such bodies will be designated as regional chambers.{emshp}Financial arrangements
     Clause 9 allows the Secretary of State to determine the financial duties of the agencies. The duties are set following consultation with the agencies and approval from Treasury. The clause also empowers the Secretary of State to direct an agency to pay him sums of monies in certain circumstances.
     Clause 10 provides that the Secretary of State may pay grants to the agencies and attach terms to the payments.
     Clauses 11, 12 and 13 provide for the borrowing of money by the agencies. Clause 11 provides that agencies can borrow money temporarily or otherwise, with the consent of the Secretary of State acting with the approval of Treasury. The total borrowing of the agencies is limited to £200 million or such greater amount as may be set by the Secretary of State with the approval of the Treasury. Clause 12 provides for the Secretary of State, with Treasury consent, to guarantee the borrowing of the agencies. The Secretary of State will inform each House of Parliament of any guarantees and any sums paid as a result of the guarantees, and may recover the sums from the agencies. Clause 13 makes provision for the Secretary of State to lend money to the agencies. If the Secretary of State makes a loan to an agency he will prepare an account and send it to the Comptroller and Auditor General. The Comptroller and Auditor General will examine certify and report on each account for both Houses of Parliament.
     Clause 14 requires agencies to keep proper accounts and accounting records and to prepare a statement of accounts each financial year. The content, presentation, methods and principles of the statement of accounts may be set by the Secretary of State, with the consent of the Treasury.
     Clause 15 provides for the agencies' accounts to be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The accounts of the agencies and the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor General will be laid before both Houses of Parliament.{emshp}Information, reports and accountability
     Clause 16 requires the agencies to provide any information, advice or assistance which the Secretary of State may require. Clause 17 requires the agencies to produce reports each year, in the form and content set by the Secretary of State, which the Secretary of State will lay before both Houses of Parliament. Clause 18 makes provision for the Secretary of State to direct the agencies to give an account of themselves to the regional chambers and hold public meetings.{emshp}Vesting and acquisition of land
     Clause 19 gives the Secretary of State the power to vest land in the agencies. The powers extend to land vested in local authorities and other public bodies, but not to land vesting in statutory undertakers which is used for the purpose of carrying out their statutory undertakings. Compensation for land will be payable under the Land Compensation Act 1961, with the exception of compensation under Part IV of that Act. The clause introduces Schedule 4, which makes certain detailed modifications to the Land Compensation Act 1961 and the Compulsory Purchase (Vesting Declarations) Act 1981 in relation to the vesting of land.
     Clause 20 provides for the acquisition of land by the agencies. The agencies may acquire land by agreement or, with the authority of the Secretary of State, compulsorily in accordance with the provisions of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 and the Compulsory Purchase Act 1965, subject to certain detailed modifications set out in Schedule 5.
     Clause 21 provides the agencies with certain rights of entry to land for surveying or valuation in connection with the acquisition of the land or compensation for any such acquisition. It provides for compensation under section 188 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 if the land entered is damaged by the agency. Clause 22 creates offences in relation to the rights of entry in Clause 21 for anyone obstructing the agency in exercising the right of entry and for anyone from the agency disclosing information on manufacturing processes or trade secrets obtained while exercising the right of entry.
     Clause 23 introduces Schedule 6, which contains a number of supplementary provisions associated with Clauses 19 to 22.{emshp}Designation orders and their effect
     Clauses 24 to 27 give the agencies certain special powers for areas designated by the Secretary of State. Clause 24 allows the Secretary of State to designate areas which are suitable for regeneration or development as areas to which the special powers in Clauses 25 to 27 shall apply. Clause 25 provides for the agencies to act as local planning authorities in those areas. Clause 26 provides for the agencies to serve a notice on a street works authority requiring it to adopt certain private streets in designated areas and provides for the authority to appeal against the notice. Clause 27 provides that the agencies can ask the Secretary of State to make traffic regulation orders for private streets in designated areas.{emshp}Miscellaneous and supplementary
     Clause 28 makes provision for the agencies to serve a notice on a local highway authority requiring it to carry out works connecting a private street to the highway, and provides for the authority to appeal against the notice.
     Clause 29 gives the Secretary of State power to alter the areas listed in Schedule 1. In exercising the power, the Secretary of State cannot change the number of areas, must consult relevant parties and may hold a local enquiry.
     Clause 30 allows the agencies to change their names.
     Clause 31 gives the Secretary of State powers to issue guidance and directions to the agencies on the exercise of their functions. Clause 32 provides that the Secretary of State must consult the agency concerned before issuing guidance, to which the agency must have regard, and that the guidance will be published.
     Clause 33 makes provision in relation to consent given by the Secretary of State under the Bill.
     Clause 34 provides that transactions with an agency will not be invalid if the agency acts beyond its powers.
     Clause 35 makes certain provisions for the service of notices under the Bill.
     Clause 36 introduces Schedule 7, which makes minor amendments to other enactments.
 EXISTING BODIES{emshp}The Development Commission
     Clause 38 provides for the Development Commission to make schemes for transferring property, rights and liabilities to the agencies (including rights and liabilities under contracts of employment). Schedule 8 makes certain detailed provisions regarding transfer schemes.
     Clause 39 provides that the Secretary of State may transfer functions, property, rights, liabilities and staff from the Development Commission to other public bodies and wind up the Development Commission.{emshp}The Urban Regeneration Agency
     Clause 40, Schedule 9 and Clause 41 replicate in relation to the Urban Regeneration Agency the provisions of Clause 38, Schedule 8 andClause 39.
     Clause 42 makes further provision regarding directions.
     Clause 43 makes provision for the interpretation of the Bill.
     Clauses 45 and 46 make provision for the commencement and extent of the Bill.
 Financial Effects of the Bill
     There will be no significant financial implications for central government as a result of the Bill. The agencies will be funded by the central government grant in aid which they will inherit from the programmes they take over from the Urban Regeneration Agency, the Development Commission and central government.
 Effects of the Bill on Public Sector Manpower
     The Bill will not require any significant changes in the number of staff in the public sector. Staff working in the Urban Regeneration Agency, the Development Commission and government departments working on the programmes which will pass to the agencies will be expected to move to employment with one of the agencies.
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Prepared 10 December 1997