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West Midlands Economic Council

Volume 483: debated on Tuesday 18 November 2008

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform by what means the effectiveness of the West Midlands Economic Council will be assessed. (235373)

[holding answer 17 November 2008]: Both individually and as part of the Council of Regional Ministers, recently established by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, a key role for the Regional Minister is to be a voice in Whitehall for their area and make sure central Government knows what the public, the business community and third sector organisations across the country need to get by. Their aim is to ensure that the regions’ strategies to tackle the challenges of tougher times are successful by bringing all parties together quickly at a local level to respond to local economic shocks and helping to remove barriers to delivering critical local services and job creation.

All Regional Ministers have established regional economic bodies (in the West Midlands this is known as the West Midlands Economic Council) bringing together private and public sector representatives to work together effectively to help businesses in the current economic climate and to ensure that their regions are well placed in the medium and long term to prepare for economic upturn. The members are there on a voluntary basis (no cost) and the bodies have no budget or funding. Their role is advisory only. They will also provide a strong voice for the regions and ensure local concerns will be fed into and inform policy at the top level of Government. The Regional Minister will feedback on the work of their regional economic bodies through the Council of Regional Ministers and Regional Economic Council.

In terms of success measures, these are ad-hoc advisory bodies and it is for the members to judge their success not the Government.