§ Mr. Wigley
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on what date it was decided that the consultation mechanism relating to business rating revaluation proposals in Wales should be transferred to the National Assembly for Wales from his Department; and on what date he announced this decision. 255W
§ Mr. Hanson
I have been asked to reply.
The functions of the Secretary of State for Wales in respect of business rates in the Local Government Finance Act 1988 were transferred to the National Assembly for Wales on 1 July 1999, by virtue of the National Assembly for Wales (Transfer of Functions) Order 1999 No. 672 which was approved by the House of Commons on 24 February 1999.
The process of consultation on various aspects of the business rating revaluation began before 1 July 1999 and was led by officials of the Department for the Environment, Transport and the Regions with Welsh Office involvement. On and after 1 July, the National Assembly for Wales continued to take part in the consultation process in place of the Welsh Office, relying on its powers in section 23(2) of the Government of Wales Act 1998 to continue anything being done by a Minister of the Crown in respect of a transferred function.
The UK Government did not need to make any formal decision or announcement about this, which was among the consequences of the approval by the House of the Transfer of Functions Order. It is one of many examples of work that continued in the transition from the Secretary of State to the National Assembly.