UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Going for Growth in the Regions

Press Release   •   Jan 22, 2010 11:27 GMT

At a meeting in London today, the Regional Economic Council (REC) picked up the challenge of taking forward the Government's growth agenda, as set out in its ‘Going for Growth’ strategy. Participants worked together to identify the challenges facing regions and places and the ways in which national and local government and their partners could take forward the ‘Going for Growth’ Strategy. Lord Mandelson has already tasked the Regional Development Agencies (RDA) to work with the vice-chancellors of the universities in their regions to report on how universities can drive economic growth, reporting back to him by mid-March. At the REC, the RDA Chairs said they would now take this work further, working with key regional employers on the business priorities and opportunities flowing from ‘Going for Growth’. They will report back on this in mid-March as well, so work on these activities can be joined up effectively. Lord Mandelson said: “While Britain has immense strengths we must continue to strengthen our economy and boost manufacturing. A credible and coherent strategy for growth at the national, regional and local levels is essential to securing future jobs and reducing the budget deficit. “The Government wants to work with Regional Development Agencies, local authorities and other public sector agencies to align their resources to ensure maximum impact.” Minister for Regional Economic Development and Coordination Rosie Winterton said: "The RDAs and other regional partners such as local authorities have played an enormous part in helping businesses in difficult economic times. “They also have a key role in prioritising future growth in the economy by developing skills, investment and jobs for the future." Strengthening and growing regional economies is a priority for the Government. Today’s meeting is just part of the focus to help communities throughout the country. Also today, Lord Davies visited Bristol to talk to local businesses to highlight export success stories. Tomorrow Lord Mandelson will visit Cumbria to see how the area is opening up to business after the North West Development Agency provided £1m of flood recovery grants (within five days of the disaster occurring) to help businesses clean-up and recover. Rosie Winterton will be in Durham tomorrow launching new funds to help local companies. Later this month Kevin Brennan is planning a visit to a new integrated employment and skills trial in Birmingham, and the Cabinet will meet in the South West shortly as part of its series of visiting the regions. The Government has a proven record in offering real help to businesses throughout the regions. Recent examples include: · Advantage West Midlands reopened the Advantage Transition Bridge Fund which has now approved loans totalling £10m to 59 businesses, safeguarding 3,741 jobs. · The East of England Development Agency has boosted business support, investing more than £30m in business support services, providing advice and specialist support to over 100,000 businesses and creating or safeguarding 6,000 jobs. · The London Development Agency (LDA) is continuing to support SMEs in the capital with their free business seminars. The online and face-to face business sessions for SMEs, are delivered by experienced professionals from accountancy firms Ernst & Young (EY), KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). · The East Midlands Development Agency offered businesses support in all five counties of the East Midlands in November and December 2008, just after the recession started. More than 2,000 business people attended, and 19,000 subscribed for Business Link newsletters, receiving expert advice from leading regional accountants, solicitors and other specialists on issues such as managing cash flow, negotiating with banks and managing redundancies. · The North West Development Agency has provided over £23m of financial support to help the region’s businesses start up, grow and expand via a number of grant and loan schemes. This includes £2.7m of small loans for businesses since January 09; £5.3m of Transitional Loan Funding lent since January 09 and £4.1m provided to over 150 businesses through the Innovation Voucher scheme which allows companies to collaborate with Higher Education institutions. · In Liverpool the development of St Paul’s Square, (secured private investment of £27m) and gap funding in Mann Island which led to a £47m investment from a German financial institution. In Central Manchester/ Salford business district we have provided enabling infrastructure work for a major development site for floor space from 2013 and in Halton (Merseyside) we provided £5m upfront resources to bring forward the major rail freight terminal at Ditton. · South East England Development Agency introduced a new £3m Transition Fund directed at fully established, viable and growing businesses facing difficulties in obtaining credit through banks and other traditional routes. · The South West of England Regional Development Agency has invested £1.7m in a Talent retention programme. This will help businesses in aerospace, advanced engineering and creative industries share and retain talent in their sectors by promoting employment and secondment opportunities. The area will also include elements from Regional Development Agency and Central Government investment including ‘Wave Hub’, part funded through £9.5m from the low carbon funding announced at Budget and improvements to strategically located port infrastructure to allow devices to be assembled, transported and deployed locally. · The National Industrial Biotechnology Facility at Wilton, Teesside secured £12m of Government investment for the development of open-access demonstrator facilities for industrial biotechnology. One North East has allocated up to £1.5m to secure the day-to-day running of the site for its first two years. · Yorkshire Forward‘s Business Link has supported 113,000 businesses and individuals. Digital region is the roll-out of ‘Super-fast Broadband’ across South Yorkshire, putting the South Yorkshire region at the forefront of the digital communications agenda and marking a significant change in com­munications technology for Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield. · As part of the Government’s commitment to new low carbon sustainable growth a Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) will be based in South Yorkshire alongside the AMRC, led by Sheffield University in partnership with University of Manchester, with Rolls-Royce as the lead industrial partner. There will also be an additional £8m to upgrade the nuclear laboratories at Manchester University’s Dalton Nuclear Institute to support the NAMRC. This is in addition to the £15m Government has already committed to the NAMRC. To further economic development the Government has also announced that rural communities and hard to reach areas who do not have access to next generation broadband will benefit from a share of £1billion of Government investment to upgrade the UK’s digital infrastructure to bring super-fast broadband to 90 per cent of the country. Notes to editors 1. The Regional Economic Council brings together national and regional ministers including the Chancellor and Lord Mandelson, as well as Regional Development Agencies, local authorities, businesses and unions. 2. To help implement the agenda today’s meeting included university vice-chancellors, the Chair and regional directors of the Homes & Communities Agency and people involved with helping people develop the skills and capabilities to reach their personal and economic potential. 3. Going for Growth is available online at www.bis.gov.uk/growth/ Department for Business, Innovation & Skills The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future. Contacts NDS Enquiries Phone: For enquiries please contact the above department ndsenquiries@coi.gsi.gov.uk