Headlines: January 17th, 2000

The Government says that the first-ever Regional Development Agengies (RDAs) are now ready to roll.Each has successfully presented its strategy for action to the DETR, plus DTI, Treasury, and DfEE, and has been pronounced ready to boost competitiveness in their area, and to iron out wealth imbalance across England.

The Government says the aim is to end the inter-competitiveness of previous regional development projects, and instead to make sure all regions are working to their potential.

RDAs are business-led bodies in each of the regions of England. Their job is to co-ordinate inward investment, raise skills, improve business competitiveness and social and physical regeneration.

The Local Government Association will be looking this week at the extent to which RDAs may eventually become a fully-fledged tier of government.

On Wednesday this week (January 19th) it begins a series of hearings on current and future developments in regional government and administration, and what the implications could be for the current local council arrangements.

A panel will hear evidence from local authorities, the NHS Confederation, the British Chambers of Commerce, the National Housing Federation and Local Government Minister Hilary Armstrong over the next month.