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SMALL BUSINESSES DRIVING BRITAIN'S REGIONS FORWARD

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Small businesses have a vital role to play in their regions' economic ...
Small businesses have a vital role to play in their regions' economic

renewal, regions and regeneration minister Richard Caborn said.

Businessmen and women are already contributing crucial local know-how

as board members on the business-led Regional Development Agencies

(RDAs). They are also helping, alongside local authorities and other

regional stakeholders, to set up regional chambers, which will liaise

with the RDAs to develop their economic strategies.

Mr Caborn outlined the functions of the new English RDAs, which

follow the success of the development agencies already established in

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The minister also emphasised

the government's inclusive approach to economic development.

'Each region has its own needs and challenges. And no-one knows this

better than the region's stakeholders - small businesses, TECs,

academia, local authorities and the voluntary sector. We want all of

these groups to work in partnership with the RDAs, to generate

economic growth and build a dynamic future for their region.'

Notes

Mr Caborn's full speech to the British Chamber of Commerce conference is available on request from LGCnet. Tel 0171 833 7324/5.

Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), set up on 1 April 1999, are new

business-led bodies in each of the regions of England. They are lead

bodies at the regional level for co-ordinating inward investment,

raising people's skills, improving the competitiveness of business,

and regeneration activity, all against a backdrop of sustainable

development. They have an important role in advising government and

are each presently developing a strategy for their region, covering

their whole range of responsibilities.

Regional chambers are bodies that include councillors from the local

authorities in the region and representatives of the various sectors

with a stake in the region's economic, social and environmental

well-being. Regional chambers are being set up in all eight English

regions (outside of London). Three, in the North West, East Midlands

and West Midlands, have already been designated, and the secretary of

state is currently considering other applications for designation.

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