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More freedom on how they use their money will help development ...
More freedom on how they use their money will help development
agencies tackle inequalities within as well as between regions.
In order to ensure that every region makes progress on a range of
outcome targets, England's Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) are
to agree specific milestones on the creation and attraction of new
businesses, increasing employment and educational opportunities, and
the re-use of 'brownfield' ex-industrial land, trade and industry
secretary Patricia Hewitt said today.
Speaking at a meeting with RDA chairs, Ms Hewitt said the RDAs' top priority is to provide strategic leadership to promote economic development, enterprise and regeneration in each of their regions, and to tackle economic differences within as well as between different regions.
In the last Spending Review the government announced extra resources
and wide financial freedoms for RDAs. In return, the government
expects the RDAs to deliver against challenging outcome targets which
will apply from April 2002.
Specific milestones will cover:
* business performance - RDAs will be asked to support the creation
and attraction of an agreed number of new businesses in their area
* employment opportunities - RDAs will be asked to support the
creation or safeguarding of an agreed number of jobs in their area
* education and skills - RDAs will be asked to enable an agreed
number of people in their area to learn new skills
* brownfield land - RDAs will be asked to remediate and/or recycle an
agreed number of hectares of brownfield land in their area
Each development agency will also be asked to work strategically with
other regional and local bodies to improve economic performance, and
will agree additional milestones appropriate to circumstances in
their region with the government.
It is expected that details of the milestones for each RDA will be
issued in the autumn.
Announcing the system of targets Ms Hewitt said:
'I am delighted that RDAs will now be working even more closely with
'Their top priority must be providing strategic leadership to promote
economic development, enterprise and investment in their regions.
'Strong, sustainable economic development is based on the principle
of opportunity for all. So a key part of the RDAs' role is ensuring
that regeneration of our most disadvantaged communities is led by
economic development, building people's skills and employablity,
promoting enterprise, and encouraging business growth and
Allan Willett, chair of the South East England Development Agency and
speaking on behalf of all the RDA chairs, said:
'I warmly welcome the secretary of state's message to the RDAs,
especially her endorsement of our strategic role in regional economic
development and its relevance to the government's wider objectives
for sustainable economic growth and tackling the problems of deprived
1. The regional outcomes were announced by the deputy prime
minister, thechancellor of the exchequer and other ministers in
Middlesbrough on 9 March 2001. The RDAs are now being asked to agree
specific delivery milestones for each of their regions. The
milestones contribute to achievement of the regional outcomes. Within
this framework, each RDA will prepare a business plan to come into
effect in April 2002.
2. The RDAs are business-led organisations, set-up in April 1999 to
stimulate regional economies to reach their full potential.
3. Targets for the London Development Agency are set by the mayor,
reflecting London's different statutory position.
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