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Regional Development Agencies

Mr. Edward Davey: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many properties were compulsorily purchased by regional development agencies in each year since 1999. [102684]

Alan Johnson: I have been asked to reply.

The following table shows which Regional Development Agencies have purchased properties by compulsory purchase order, and how many in each of the relevant financial years.

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Regional development agencies1999–20012001–022002–03
Advantage West Midlands0016
North West Development Agency0024
South East of England Development Agency090

Regional Governance

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the reasons were for his Department's decision to publish the summary of the comments and enquiries received following the publication of the White Paper on Regional Governance. [103261]

Mr. Raynsford: The Government's White Paper 'Your Region, Your Choice' included a formal consultation on the involvement of stakeholders in the work of elected regional assemblies. It also invited views on the proposals set out in the White Paper generally.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister published on 24 February an analysis of the views received in response to the consultation on stakeholder involvement, as is our usual practice.

Given the interest in our regional policy proposals both within and outside Parliament we concluded that it would be helpful and informative to publish a summary of the more general responses as well.

Mr. Hammond: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to propose legislation setting out the powers of the proposed elected regional assemblies. [103267]

Mr. Raynsford: The Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill now before Parliament makes provision for referendums on elected regional assemblies and for the associated local government reviews. Once at least one region has voted for an elected assembly, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister intend, when parliamentary time allows, to introduce a further Bill providing for the establishment of elected regional assemblies. This would make the necessary legislative provision for their constitutions, elections, powers and responsibilities. The Government's proposals on these matters are set out in the White Paper 'Your Region, Your Choice' (Cm 5511). The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister will also consider whether a Bill might be published in draft before the first referendum.

Mr. Peter Atkinson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many responses were received by his Department to the consultation on the interest in holding a referendum on regional government in the north-east. [103142]

Mr. Raynsford: The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister asked for responses by 3 March on the level of regional interest in each English region in holding a referendum for an elected regional assembly. We have received over 4,500 responses to date, of which just over 3,000 have been logged. Of those logged so far, approximately 300 are from the north-east.

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The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is continuing to log responses and are beginning to evaluate them. We will announce our decisions after the Regional Assemblies (Preparations) Bill has received Royal Assent.

Ring-fenced Grants

Mr. Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will list the Ring-Fenced grants available to local authorities in each year since 1997. [96909]

Mr. Raynsford: The information is as follows:

List of Ring-Fenced and Special Grants available in each Financial Year

The definition of ring-fencing used was updated last year to reflect the types of grant we now have. Some grants previously classified as ring-fenced are no longer classified in this way. The key distinction we make is that ring-fenced grants restrict local authority spending. For completeness the following list includes all special grants inside Aggregate External Finance. Those marked with an asterisk are not ring-fenced. Further details of classifications are in an annex to the freedoms and flexibilities announcement of 26 November.





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