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Ministers hear business and council views on RDAs

Government ministers yesterday met with businesses and local authorities to hear their views on the creation of local enterprise partnerships in place of Regional Development Agencies (RDAs).

Minister for regional and local economic development Mark Prisk and minister for decentralisation Greg Clark hosted a round table event ahead of the 6 September deadline for proposals on the government’s planning reforms.

The government said in its coalition agreement that it would abolish RDAs and replace them with local enterprise partnerships – joint local authority and business-led planning organisations.

“The arbitrary division of the country conformed to government bodies rather than natural economic areas.”

Greg Clark, decentralisation minister

Clark said councils and businesses will be able to organise themselves as they wish, to pursue economic growth. “The arbitrary division of the country into regions [in the past] conformed to government bodies rather than natural economic areas,” he said.

Prisk said the meeting was a positive one. “Our structural reforms call for a bottom-up approach,” he said. “It’s crucial that local authorities and business work hand in hand to establish proposals for enterprise partnerships.”

A White Paper on sub-national economic development, setting out the approach in more detail, will be published later this year.

The government said it is not proposing that local enterprise partnerships should take on all existing RDA functions, “as some are best led at the national level”.

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