Earlier this week Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced a £64.4million package of new investment through the nine regional development agencies.
The investment supports the policy initiatives touted in last year’s New Industry, New Jobs and Going for Growth.
The breakdown of the spend is as follows:
• 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
“The RDAs are by far the best way for the Government to secure future economic growth,” said Mandelson. “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.”
Speaking on behalf of all RDAs, Mick Laverty, Chief Executive at Advantage West Midlands, added: “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.”
England’s RDAs were established under the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 and each Agency has five statutory purposes: to further economic development and regeneration ; To promote business efficiency, investment and competitiveness, to promote employment, to enhance development and application of skill relevant to employment; and to contribute to sustainable development.