For some time the Treasury has been looking at sub-national economic development to see how it can be improved. A full report has yet to be published but did the 2007 Budget show the likely “direction of travel”?
The Budget revealed that the review is focussing on several areas for potential reform including strengthening and incentivising the ability of local authorities to take economic development decisions at a local level.
The review of sub-national economic development is also likely to demand collaboration across local authority boundaries where a larger, functional economic area can be identified – multi area agreements.
There may also be a move to make Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) more accountable and better connected to sub-regional partnerships possibly with clear contracts for delivery of certain outcomes within a given timeframe.
It would appears likely that there would also be a strong demand for better coordination of various regional strategies possibly with an enhanced role for RDAs. Some observers have suggested that the Treasury may be inclined to merge RDAs and regional government offices and while there has been no official endorsement of such a strategy Treasury Minister Ed Balls wrote the foreward for the original New Local Government Network paper proposing the idea.
Read related items on:
Multi Area Agreement
Regional Economic Strategy