This statement provides a Government response in relation to the following reports:
South West Regional Committee inquiry into the prospects for the South West Economy published on 31 March 2010.
Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Committee inquiry into the Work of Yorkshire Forward published on 16 March 2010.
The dissolution of Parliament in April 2010 did not allow sufficient time for a formal Government response to be sent to these Committees, which following a statement by the Leader of the House on 26 May 2010 will not be re-enacted.
The Government’s response
The creation of the coalition Government has meant that the policy context has changed significantly for some issues, which the Committees have highlighted. The “Coalition: our programme for Government”, outlines the Government’s position on these and other relevant issues. As a consequence the Government do not intend to respond in detail to each of the recommendations. The Government acknowledge the reports of the Committees and thanks the Committee members and witnesses for their contributions.
The South West Regional Committee report—Prospects for South West Economy
The South West Regional Committee report made 15 recommendations and looked at:
The opportunities that green industries might provide for the people of the region in terms of jobs, skills, supply chains, investment, and the quality of life.
The importance of small and micro businesses, and social enterprises, for the region and the remarkable resilience they have shown through the recession.
The need for greater broadband coverage across the region (especially in rural areas).
South West strengths in advanced manufacturing/ composites, creative industries and tourism.
Potential vulnerability of the region's dependence on public sector employment.
The Government share the Committee’s conclusions that a green industry provides enormous opportunities for the whole of the United Kingdom. The new green economy, including a green investment bank, is at the heart of this Government’s commitments on energy and climate change alongside its role in the wider economy. This Government have also made commitments to increasing opportunities for small businesses both start up and growth and emphasised its desire for an enterprise-led recovery.
The Government notes the Committee’s comments on the vulnerability of areas outside of London that are heavily dependent on public sector jobs. To help areas and communities particularly affected by reductions in public spending make the transition to private sector-led growth and prosperity, the Government will create a regional growth fund in 2011-12 and 2012-13. This fund will operate in England only and support proposals from private and public-private bodies that create sustainable increases in business employment and growth. A White Paper later in the summer will set out details of these proposals.
The Yorkshire and the Humber Regional Committee report—Work of Yorkshire Forward
The Government agree with the Committee that Yorkshire Forward has played a part in tackling structural economic problems in Yorkshire and the Humber. However, the Government also note the Committee’s concerns that the Regional Development Agency has moved away from its core role and has taken on too many diffuse responsibilities.
The Government are committed to renewing and strengthening local economies and reorganising the delivery of economic development to ensure a focused, targeted delivery of services in areas where it can have the most benefit.
The Government intend to abolish Regional Development Agencies through the Public Bodies Bill and enable elected local authorities, working with business, to lead economic development through new Local Enterprise Partnerships. A White Paper later in the summer will set out details of these proposals.