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Science minister Lord Sainsbury today announced a change of gear on ...
Science minister Lord Sainsbury today announced a change of gear on

the government's policy on clusters. He said:

'While the creation and growth of clusters is market driven, the

government has a role to play in encouraging them, most obviously

through tackling some of the barriers which might inhibit their

growth and to ensure that regulation does not constitute an

unnecessary barrier to their development.'

'We have done a great deal since the competitiveness white paper last

year, but I am delighted to announce that we are taking work on this

important policy area to a new level.'

'With colleagues throughout Whitehall I will be looking at potential

areas for action. Today, I can announce two fundamental steps in the

process to ensure that this work is properly targeted:

'First, the DTI will be commissioning a full mapping study of cluster

activity in the UK. I will shortly be issuing an invitation to tender

for this work;

'Second, we will be setting up a steering committee which I will

chair, to draw on expertise from the private sector and key players

in the regions.'


1 Ministers have agreed that the government should make a further

assessment of the scope for action on clusters policy. One aspect of

this - the intention to issue revised planning guidance and a new

good practice guide to help planners and business co-operate in

planning for cluster growth - was announced by the deputy prime

minster following the pre-budget report. Today's announcement sets

out two of the mechanisms by which the government will be taking this

work forward.

2 Among the key principles which will govern the government's approach to clusters policy are:

The government's key role is to create the conditions which encourage the formation and growth of clusters and enable and nurture progress, and in particular to remove any unnecessary impediments and obstacles;

We must join up diverse activity by different departments and agencies and avoid unnecessary duplication;

3 Full details of the membership of the steering group and its terms of reference will be made available in due course.

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