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Business: Lancashire

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 28 January 2010

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills what assistance the Northwest Regional Development Agency has provided to businesses in Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency in respect of the economic downturn. (311561)

Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) established in 1999 has provided extensive support to businesses across the region including in the Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency. The NWDA’s main support for businesses is through regionally available “Solutions for Business” products in which the agency invested £92.75 million in 2008/09. The “Solutions for Business” portfolio includes: business finance, improving innovation and efficiency, business start-up, advice on international trade, work force training, and sector development through regional cluster organisations. The primary access point is Business Link which provides companies with information, diagnostics and brokerage to specific types of support. In a direct response to the downturn Business Link can respond to emergencies within 24 hours and utilise the region’s “rapid response team” if required. The agency and Business Link have also been working with partners such as chambers of commerce and local authorities to promote business support services and share intelligence on companies and sectors which have been impacted by the downturn. The NWDA has also worked with the banks and doubled its investment in business finance in 2009/10. The NWDA is tackling short-term economic problems whilst also taking a long-term view in line with the Government’s New Industry, New Jobs policy which promotes investment in growth sectors to compete in the global economy.