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Regional Development Agencies: Annual Reports and Accounts 2003–04

Lord Sainsbury of Turville: My honourable friend the Minister for the Industry and the Regions (Jacqui Smith) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I have today laid before Parliament the annual reports and accounts for 2003–04 for the eight regional development agencies (RDAs) outside London. Copies have been placed in the House Library. The Government welcome the contribution that the RDAs have made during this year to driving forward economic development in their respective regions.

Also published today are the RDAs' reported tier 3 outputs for 2003–04. These results are evidence that the RDAs continue to play a valuable role in improving the economic performance of the English regions and, through working with their partners, the RDAs are making a real difference to the individual regional economies concerned. The figures cover the creation and safeguarding of jobs, the amount of brownfield land brought back into use, the number of businesses added to the regional economies, the number of learning opportunities created and the amount of private sector investment attracted benefiting deprived areas, all as a result of RDA activity.

Press releases on the tier 3 outputs have been issued in each region. Copies of the output results have been placed in the House Library, and are available on the DTI website at

Regulatory Impact Assessments

Lord Bassam of Brighton: An updated measurement of the level of compliance with the regulatory impact assessment process is today being placed on the website of the Cabinet Office Regulatory Impact Unit.
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An exercise in June 2004 to establish a snapshot of the level of compliance, based on consultations carried out in the 12 weeks to 16 June 2004, showed a compliance rate of 96 per cent. We will continue to keep this under regular review and will report back to Parliament as appropriate.

Central Office of Information: Annual Report and Accounts 2003–04

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Copies of the Central Office of Information's 2003–04 annual report and accounts have today been laid before Parliament, and copies have placed in the Library.
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Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration

Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster has today announced in response to a request from the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (the Ombudsman) that he has agreed to extend her jurisdiction to include the role of the Government Actuary's Department in relation to the prudential regulation of insurers prior to this function being transferred to the Financial Services Authority in April 2001. This will enable the Ombudsman to conduct a full investigation into Equitable Life. The amendment to the legislation to make this change will be made as soon as possible.

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