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Regional Development Agencies (Closure)

Volume 538: debated on Tuesday 17 January 2012

The Public Bodies Act received Royal Assent on 14 December 2011, and includes parliamentary approval of powers to abolish eight regional development agencies (RDAs). The RDAs are expected to achieve operational closure by 31 March 2012 with formal abolition expected to occur at the end of June 2012.

Most of the RDA assets and projects which were not sold or closed have transferred to receiving bodies during 2011. This includes the majority of land and property assets to the Homes and Communities Agency, grants for research and development to the Technology Strategy Board and venture capital funds to be managed by Capital for Enterprise on behalf of BIS.

BIS issued individual transfer schemes for each RDA under the Public Bodies Act, which came into effect on 1 January 2012 and transferred the majority of the remaining projects and contracts as well as 13 staff from RDAs to BIS so that they can be managed to completion. The schemes and associated transfer schedules are available in the Libraries of both Houses.

I expect that there will be two further transfer schemes to move the last remaining assets, liabilities and obligations out of the RDAs prior to abolition. The first of these is expected in March with the second taking effect at the time of abolition.

The RDAs will produce accounts for the financial year 2011-12 and these will be laid in the Houses in the summer of 2012 in the usual way. The accounts for the period from 1 April 2012 to the date of abolition will be laid in due course.