A government paper from the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) strengthens the regional development agencies prior to a possible Conservative victory in the general election.
The RDAs have become something of a political football over the past year with the Conservative Party variously threatening to radically reform them or even remove them altogether (see earlier stories) if they win the 2010 general election.
The new paper – Partnerships for Growth – was published on 10th December and it tackles head on the role of RDAs giving them new strengths that will make them more difficult to remove.
But critics have suggested that the paper outlines a lesser role for local authorities and warns that strategic investment from central government will depend in large part on how local priorities align with government policy especially regional economic strategy, multi-area agreements and the development of city-regions. These are all areas with which RDAs are inextricably linked.
The RDAs will also have powers to resolve any discrepancies between local and regional priorities. A spokes person for BIS said that the document intends to “better coordinate, and build upon, what RDAs, the government offices and local authorities are already doing jointly to make them more effective at delivering growth”.
Click here to download Partnerships for Growth
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Department for Business, Innovation & Skills