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Some Regional Development Agencies could be saved

Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) were this week hoping to be saved from the scrapheap after prime minister David Cameron said that some could be rescued by local authorities.

He told MPs this week that the planned replacement of RDAs with council-led Local Enterprise Partnerships - as outlined in the Decentralisation and Localism Bill - may not apply in some regions.

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions Cameron said: “In areas of the country where [RDAs] work well and where local authorities want to keep them as they are, they can.”

Local Government Association senior policy consultant Phillip Mind said he understood that RDAs in the North
East, North West, Yorkshire & the Humber and the West Midlands are performing well and could
be saved.

“The future of RDAs is currently being reviewed”

Vince Cable

But he said those in the South and East of England will be replaced by Local Enterprise Partnerships.Councils in the North East are particularly in favour of retaining RDA-like bodies, he said.

Business secretary Vince Cable supported this idea when announcing the appointment of Paul Callaghan as new chair of the One North East Regional Development Agency this week.

“The future of RDAs is currently being reviewed,” said Cable, “but I believe that the North East of England is one region where business support through a regional agency is both necessary and appreciated.”

The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) has been backed by business groups in the North West including the CBI and the Institute of Directors.

But the South East England Partnership announced this week that it will close next month.

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