§ Mr. Liddell-Grainger
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister under what statutory powers regional assemblies can act in regional matters. 
§ Mr. Raynsford
The voluntary regional chambers, which all now call themselves regional assemblies, do not have any statutory powers. However, the Government has designated the chamber in each region, under section 8 of the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998, as a representative regional body. They work with the Regional Development Agency, commenting on its Regional Economic Strategy and scrutinising the delivery of that strategy.
Five of eight regional assemblies already act as Regional Planning Bodies, and it is the Government's intention to extend this to the remaining three. The Government also supports the role of the assemblies in promoting the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of their region.