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Regional Government: Ministers

Volume 465: debated on Wednesday 24 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff support each of the Ministers for the Regions in their regional roles, broken down by grade; what the engagements of each Minister were from the date of their appointment to 1 October 2007; over what budget for 2007-08 for each region each Minister has control; what each Minister’s regional responsibilities are; and what the cost is of the staff of each Minister. (159271)

The role of Regional Ministers is set out in paragraphs 115 to 118 in “The Governance of Britain” and their responsibilities include:

Advising the Secretaries of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and Communities and Local Government on the approval of regional strategies

Representing regional interests in the formulation of central Government policy relevant to economic growth and sustainable development in areas that have not been devolved to the regional development agencies (RDAs)

Facilitating a joined up approach across Government Departments and agencies to enable effective delivery of the single regional strategy

Promoting achievement of the Government’s Regional Economic Performance objective

Championing the region at high level events and with regard to high profile projects, and

Representing the Government with regard to central Government policy at regional select committee hearings and at parliamentary debates focused specifically on the region.

Regional Ministers do not have control of a specific budget. Alongside their departmental private offices, Government offices also provide support for the Regional Ministers. This varies from one to 3.5 full-time equivalent staff, across the grade scale, depending on the requirements of the Minister at the time.

Regional Ministers are currently developing a forward plan of events for the coming year. From the date of their appointment up until 1 October they have attended a variety of engagements including meetings with the heads of regional development agencies, regional assemblies, local government and the business sectors on the outbreaks of foot and mouth disease and the flooding that affected many of the regions and other region-specific issues.