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Regions White Paper

Volume 404: debated on Monday 28 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress the Department has made towards the aim in the White Paper, Your Region, Your Choice, of assessing the balance of staff between the centre and the regions in terms of effective policy design and implementation; and what examples there have been since the publication of the White Paper of the Department deciding between locating new streams of work (a) in and (b) outside London and the South East. [108567]

DTI has established teams in three locations outside London and the South East dealing with automotive and aerospace and defence issues in Birmingham, technical textiles and bioscience in Manchester, and materials and engineering in Leeds. These teams, which farm part of DTP s national business relations resource, will build better joint working links with regional partners to provide an improved service to business. They will enhance the way knowledge is pooled from both the national and regional levels to enhance the design and implementation of policy.The £30 million UK Broadband Fund was distributed to Regional Development Agencies and Devolved Administrations for them to develop regional and local pilots for extending access to broadband. The UK Broadband Taskforce, established in November 2002, has put a Regional Broadband Coordinator in each of the Regional Development Agencies to use the aggregated public sector demand for broadband connectivity as a mechanism to extend broadband availability.The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget plans to examine relocation of public services with the aim of achieving best value for money. He has asked Sir Michael Lyons—Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies at Birmingham University—to advise on relocation by the next Spending Review.