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RDAs TO ADVISE CHANCELLOR ON REGIONAL ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

5 Dec 2005

PRESS RELEASE – 5 December 2005

The Chancellor is seeking the views of the RDAs on a number of important issues related to regional economic development, it has been announced today.

As part of the pre-Budget Report, the Treasury has written to Yorkshire Forward Chief Executive Martin Havenhand – RDA lead Chief Executive on Treasury matters – requesting advice on three key policy areas:

· How business support services in each region can be simplified and made more cost effective;

· How the Government can get better links between the national and regional frameworks on innovation; and

· How the Government can unlock more private sector investment for regeneration and economic development.

Last year, following a similar request from the Chancellor, the RDAs gave advice to the Treasury on a number of issues including sustainable development, science cities, adult skills and creating a culture of enterprise for all.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Yorkshire Forward Chair Terry Hodgkinson said:

“I am delighted that our input to previous Budgets has led the Chancellor to seek the benefit of our experience once again.

“Each of the policy areas on which we have been asked to offer advice - business support, innovation and attracting private sector finance - is at the core of what we do, and taking informed decisions on these is vital to our nation’s future economic growth.

“Last year the RDAs helped over 7,500 businesses start up, brought over 1,000 hectares of land back into use and attracted 750m private sector investment into deprived areas of England.

“We look forward to playing our full part in helping the Chancellor to drive forward regional economic growth.”

The RDAs also welcomed the Government's response to the Barker report and will study its recommendations carefully.

The RDAs believe a strong house building market is an important part of economic growth because good quality homes are essential to attract and retain skilled people. However, there needs to be sufficient flexibility so that regions can balance their regional needs for new housing against their wider economic priorities.

The Pre -Budget Report emphasises the critical role that skills play as a driver of productivity. The RDAs are already working hard to simplify business support for skills, incorporating workforce development. This includes supporting the provision of employer focused training through FE colleges.

Today's announcements are a positive step forward to ensure the UK has a workforce equipped with the necessary skills to compete in the global economy. The RDAs will continue to work with our partners to deliver the right regional solutions that will meet the considerable challenges ahead.

Notes to Editors

For more information please contact: Barry White, Senior Press Officer, Yorkshire Forward, tel 0113 394 9923, email: barry.white@yorkshire-forward.com

The RDAs are business led organisations set up by Government in 1998 to promote sustainable economic development in England. They work with key public and private sector regional partners to increase the economic performance of the regions and reduce social and economic disparities within and between regions. The RDAs have five priorities which they believe are essential to deliver sustained economic growth in the regions: promoting skills; delivering strategic transport links; supporting enterprise; encouraging innovation; and enabling economic inclusion.

For more details contact Duncan Stroud at the RDA National Secretariat on 020-7654 1516.
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