Headlines: May 31st, 2000

The new Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have come to an agreement with local councils about the way forward in tackling the task of improving regional prosperity.A concordat has been signed, agreeing common objectives and joint interests.

The concordat restates the commitment of local government and the RDAs to work to improve the economic, social and environmental well-being of local communities. It also makes a plea for flexible working arrangements that take into account the needs and wishes of those communities.

One of those flexibilities of operation required is the power to spend money. RDAs are so far only lightly financed to achieve their aims. RDAs will be working with the LGA to obtain the power to use money to tackle inequalities within and between regions and to achieve the urban and rural renaissance desired by central government.

The concordat should go some way to settling the fears of those in local government who see RDAs as another way in which the powers of local councils might be eroded.