The expected steady growth in influence of the new regional development agencies has been confirmed with the proposals to give them even greater powers.The one-year old agencies, whose job is to oversee the economic regeneration of the regions of England, have been asked to provide strategic leadership on regional economic development, work to increase prosperity in the regions and seek a more balanced growth between and within regions.
Ministers have set out their plan in a consultation document, ‘The RDAs as Strategic Drivers of Economic Development’.
The RDAs are credited with creating or safeguarding 35,000 jobs in their first year, restoring thousands of acres of derelict land, and targeting investment to the neediest parts of the country.
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott said at the consultation document launch: ‘I have long been committed to a stronger role for the English regions. Regional Development Agencies have been introduced as a first step and we are looking at new models of regional governance where there is strong popular demand for them.’
RDAs currently cover eight English regions. The ninth, in London, will follow on 3 July 2000