UK Government

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills: Regional Development Key to Growth of New Industries

Press Release   •   Dec 11, 2009 11:28 GMT

The government today set out a new role for regional development agencies and local authorities to back growing industries and support the country’s future economic success.

A new national framework published today – Partnerships for Growth – sets out plans to coordinate the work of RDAs and local authorities to promote the industries that will drive growth and pursue national priorities for skills, innovation, investment and enterprise.

RDAs and local authorities across the country will collaborate more closely to build on their local strengths, while ensuring public investments are targeted at the projects where they can have most impact.

Under the Partnerships for Growth plan:

·        Key objectives will be to raise the rate of sustainable economic growth, increase employment and reduce gaps in growth rates between regions.

·        The government, local authorities and RDAs will work together to identify sectors for targeted intervention and coordinated support that can unlock future growth.

·        The RDAs will have a new role in setting priorities for skills funding and will work with national and local partners to join up support for innovation, infrastructure and enterprise.

·        The RDAs will work with local authorities and city-region partnerships to agree local priorities and ensure a supportive business environment through action on transport, planning, housing and regulation.

Regional Economic Development Minister Rosie Winterton said:

“Changing economic times create new challenges and we must ensure every region benefits from the opportunities for growth provided by the recovery.

Over the last 10 years RDAs and local authorities have strengthened our economy, supporting the businesses that drive growth and developing the infrastructure of our regions.

During the economic recovery RDAs must play a key role and build on coordination with local authorities and national government. We need joined-up action at national, regional and local levels so that people and businesses get the greatest possible help to increase prosperity.

Established links with businesses in their regions mean RDAs can direct investment to the projects where it will have most impact in creating the creative, strong and highly-skilled economy we need to succeed.”

The New Industry, New Jobs strategy published earlier this year set out the need to ensure all government action is supportive of business including key industries of the future.

RDAs are set to invest an estimated £1.1bn in support of the New Industry New Jobs strategy over the next 18 months. This follows investments of £900m already made by RDAs in priority sectors.

Projects where RDAs are collaborating with others to promote priority sectors identified by New Industry New Jobs include:

·        Manufacturing Technology Centre, Coventry (AWM and EMDA)

·        Bioscience Park, Stevenage (part-funded by EEDA, the UK Strategic Investment Fund and Technology Strategy Board)

·        Environmentally Friendly Engine aerospace project (part-funded by SWDA, EMDA, AWM and NW RDA)

·        Supply Chain Initiative to support development of supply chain for high value materials and components in the expanding printable electronics market (Northern Way)

Mick Laverty, Chief Executive at Advantage West Midlands, said:

“This framework gives RDAs a central role in driving sustainable economic growth. We are business-led and business-liked organisations which have a good track record of translating national policy into on-the-ground delivery in the regions.

“There are few other public sector bodies which are able to offer this degree of simplicity or speed, which benefits national government, local authority partners and business alike.

“The RDA model of generating wealth by targeting funding where it makes most impact to deliver maximum value for money, is a model that works. Every £1 invested by RDAs generates at least £4.50 in return.”

Notes to editors

1. The full Partnerships for Growth document can be found at

2. Regional Development Agencies were established after passage of the Regional Development Agency Act 1998. It is estimated that since 2002, RDAs have created or safeguarded more than 500,000 jobs and created over 56,000 new businesses.

3. They support business development and competitiveness by encouraging public and private investment and by helping individuals take advantage of economic opportunities.

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.


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