Mandelson - The Economy must be top priority for RDAs
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The RDAs are making a real difference to the
economy, an independent study has found. The report by
PricewaterhouseCoopers has shown that, overall, every pound invested by
Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) will generate at least £4.50 for
the regional economy.
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson said:
RDAs are working. We have clear evidence that their programmes are
helping to drive regional economies - creating jobs, helping businesses
and boosting skills.
"They are on the front line of our response
to the global downturn. But their medium and long term interventions
and investments are equally important to prepare for the upturn. It
will help ensure that we emerge stronger.
"I think RDAs can do
even more. They must relentlessly focus on economic recovery and growth
and are ideally placed to help lay down the commercial infrastructure
of the 21st Century.
"I am confident that the RDAs can rise to
this challenge. I have asked them to report back to me by the end of
May and will be closely following their progress."
The Secretary of State's statement to Parliament on Tuesday 31 March,
was published alongside the independent evaluation of RDAs undertaken
by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The full statement is attached below and the
evaluation is available via - http://www.berr.gov.uk/rdaevaluation
2. The Regional Development Agencies have agreed to provide
detailed responses to the Secretary of State by the end of May 2009.
RDAs are responsible for the delivery of Solutions for Business, the
government's streamlined portfolio of business support products, which
concluded its rollout today. For more information on SfB, see
ANNEX A - LORD MANDELSON'S STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT
is ten years since the RDAs were set up, as business-led organisations,
to promote enterprise throughout the country and drive up economic
growth in their regions. They provide regional economic leadership,
co-ordinate strategy, deliver vital programmes to provide real help to
people and business today, invest for our future, and help join up the
full range of public sector economic activity in the region. They have
brought inward investment successes to the regions and worked closely
with UKTI in supporting the growth of UK businesses through
international trade. They also lead the regional response in times of
economic difficulty, offering real help now to businesses and people to
support them through the downturn and ensure they are well placed to
respond to the opportunities in the recovery.
Performance Assessments carried out in 2006/7 by the National Audit
Office showed that all of the RDAs were operationally performing Well
or Strongly. We now have an independent evaluation of the economic
impact of RDAs, commissioned by BERR and RDAs and published today by
Pricewaterhouse Coopers, demonstrating the considerable success that
RDAs have had in improving their region's economy. The PwC report finds
that the RDAs add real value: supporting business, helping people to
increase their employability and productivity, and investing in
infrastructure and communities. PwC assessed that RDA programmes will
generate at least £4.50 for every £1 spent over the programmes'
I have placed copies of the PwC report in the library
of the House. All regions have significant centres of industrial
strength and competitive advantage. For these centres to thrive and
provide the foundation for our national economic success, national,
regional and sub-regional bodies need to align their efforts to provide
the best possible environment for business. The RDAs have a key
leadership role. They catalyse investment in key infrastructure that
will support the sustainable economic environment needed for the
future. Through the funding they provide, the leadership they give,
particularly in developing the new single regional strategy with the
Leaders Boards, and their links with national and local partners, they
have a prime role in delivering industrial policy, regenerating the
economy, and moving to a low carbon economy. This delivery is built on
RDAs' precise regional knowledge and their ability to engage and work
with other regional and sub-regional partners to lever and powerfully
align funding and priorities at the national, sub-regional and local
In current economic conditions, we need a relentless focus
on helping business and fostering growth and jobs. RDAs will be
developing a different strategic mix of investments and interventions
for the short-term, the medium and longer-term. The new guidance for
the single regional strategy to be issued in the summer is an
opportunity to set out a clear national framework setting out how RDAs,
with regional and local partners, will work together to deliver
sustainable growth, housing and tackling climate change, including
through the Solutions for Business portfolio.
I am asking the RDAs to focus, working with and through others:
* As an immediate priority, on providing assistance to
* for the medium-term. on stimulating the recovery and growth;
for the longer-term, on restructuring and developing each region
strengths, supporting its growth and competitiveness in the future.
Through such investment, businesses will not only survive but thrive,
with more jobs and employment created for the people in all parts of
the country. This will be delivered more successfully by aligning RDAs'
business-focused capital expenditure with that of other bodies such as
the Homes and Communities Agency, and sub-regional and local partners.
Our ambition is to maximise economic benefits and through them the
impact on people's life chances, by targeting investment firmly on
regenerating and strengthening each region's economy.
report gives the RDAs and Government more widely, an opportunity to
identify which types of investments and interventions have the greatest
economic impact and in which circumstances. The evidence from the
report will inform the conclusions of Public Value Programme review of
RDAs to be announced in the Budget. More immediately, I have agreed
with the RDAs that they should:
* reprioritise and focus sharply
on measures to help their regions through the downturn and prepare for
the upturn. They will look at the strategic mix of their interventions
and use the evaluation work to arrive at a programme with maximum
impact in the short and medium term to address the acute problems of
the present and to lay strong foundations for recovery.
that robust mechanisms are in place uniformly across the network to
embed learning from the evaluation into future investment planning and
that experience is shared effectively across the RDA network. RDAs will
also be working with BERR and others to produce new appraisal guidance
which will set out a shared understanding of what, in the light of the
evaluation, works well and what does not.
* Draw extensively on
the evaluation results and other evidence to refine their investment
frameworks, to help them choose between competing investment projects
to maximise the economic return to the region and the national economy.
The result will provide an even more robust basis for ensuring the
effective use of funds, particularly in ensuring that investment in
physical regeneration complements business investment.
me on the immediate priorities they have agreed with their Regional
Ministers and partners and stakeholders such as the Homes and
Communities Agency and local authorities. These should be set out in
corporate plan updates so that there is clear visibility of everything
they will be doing for the region over the period. This will provide
the basis for more open and firmer performance management.
RDAs have agreed to provide detailed responses by the end of
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from the BERR-
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-03-31 14:08:31 in Business Articles