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Regional Planning and Development: Retail Trade

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 17 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if her Department will encourage Newcastle city council to bring forward development briefs for retail developments in Newcastle upon Tyne as a way of stimulating local economic activity within sustainable communities in the city. (244127)

In the pre-Budget report, the Government introduced new measures to bring forward £3 billion of capital spending from 2010-11 to 2009-10. The outcome of bringing forward public investment will impact directly on economic activity in the UK, in particular supporting the construction sector.

Local authorities have an important role to play in driving local economic development in their area, building on their place shaping role and we would encourage authorities to look at how they can support their local communities and local business during the economic downturn.

It is not Government policy, however, to intervene in such a specific way to influence local authorities regarding the detail of how they stimulate their local economies. We are keeping in close contact with them to understand the issues facing them, the actions they are taking and any support required by central Government. We are currently keeping all significant infrastructure projects, including retail developments, under review through the Regional Minister and the Council of Regional Ministers.