The Government has underlined its commitment to economic development across the English regions with a £64.4million
package of new investment announced by Lord Mandelson.
The funding will be distributed by the nine Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) to support a range of new initiatives in key industrial sectors, including green energy provision, low carbon manufacturing and R&D;, support for science and innovation and urban regeneration.
In the Action Plan published , the RDAs confirmed their commitment to promoting the New Industry, New Jobs and Going for Growth policy agendas and set out steps to ensure their regions can benefit from the new jobs and opportunities created by future growth.
Their in-depth knowledge of regional economies means they are uniquely placed to help deliver the Government’s strategy for economic recovery, job creation and future growth. Over the past 12 years they have played a key role in supporting businesses and communities.
Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson said:
“The RDAs are by far the best way for the Government to secure future economic growth. Their Action Plan highlights how they are uniquely placed to help deliver our strategies for economic recovery, job creation and business success throughout the country.
“For every £1 the RDAs spend, around £4.50 is put back into their region’s economy. Over the past decade, this spending has created more than 850,000 jobs, helped start up nearly 60,000 businesses and ensured that people across the country are able to benefit from new economic opportunities in their region.”
Today, each RDA announced details of new initiatives and investments in their region:
- Northwest Regional Development Agency: £4.4m investment in a new Centre for Nuclear Energy Technology to position the Northwest as a region of global nuclear capability
- ONE North East: £5m package to help Tees Valley companies improve their resource efficiency by reducing their energy use
- Yorkshire Forward: £6m funding for the regeneration of Huddersfield Waterfront Quarter
- East Midlands Development Agency: £22 million to help regional businesses develop and exploit innovative ideas
- Advantage West Midlands: £3.9m grant for Michelin to increase capacity at its Stoke-on-Trent plant, install new equipment and modernise the production process
- East of England Development Agency: £5.5m for companies conducting low carbon R&D; across the region
- South East England Development Agency: £7.4m investment deal to help GKN and Rolls Royce establish a pre-production facility for Environmental Lightweight Fans (ELF) on the Isle of Wight
- London Development Agency: A new series of free seminars to help SMEs build on their successes and identify new opportunities for growth
- South West Regional Development Agency: £10.2m additional funding for the Bristol and Bath Science Park
Minister for Regional Economic Coordination, Rosie Winterton said:
“RDAs are a key delivery vehicle for taking forward the Government's New Industry, New Jobs and Growth Strategies. Their Action Plan highlights the real difference they are making and offers a clear commitment to ensure the regions benefit from future growth. I have seen first-hand the help RDAs have provided for business during the recession - this includes providing 110,000 businesses with Business Link health checks, an additional £125 million funding for small firms, and bringing forward £100 million to support regeneration.
“The RDAs also fulfil an essential role in providing critical skills training for the workforce and by helping link businesses with universities to foster innovation. In four years they have assisted over 400,000 people to improve their skills, which is almost the population of Manchester. And they look beyond their region by supporting UK exporters in overseas markets and attracting foreign investment.”
Speaking on behalf of all RDAs, Mick Laverty, Chief Executive at Advantage West Midlands, said:
“RDAs are business-led and business-focused organisations, which are promoting and enabling economic growth in England.
“Ours is a vital role in the current economic climate, not least because of the frontline support we provide to England’s businesses today to help them take advantage of the new market opportunities of tomorrow.
“We have repeatedly demonstrated our ability to respond swiftly and effectively to tackle economic challenges and opportunities. There are few other public sector bodies which are able to offer this degree of simplicity or speed, which benefits national government, local authority partners and business alike.”
The Government has also published a policy statement to help the RDAs and Local Authorities prepare their new Regional Strategies for promoting sustainable economic growth, increasing housing provision and tackling climate change.
The Technology Strategy Board also published its report ‘Accelerating Business Innovation across the UK’ about how it is working with the RDAs and the Devolved Administrations to boost business innovation across the English regions and in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Source; © Department for Business, Innovation and Skills