Headlines: July 9th, 2002

The TUC is calling for the regions of the UK to be given a big spending increase in this month’s spending review.It is calling for the English regions to be given an extra 375 million pounds in what would be a 25 per cent increase on the current budgets of the regional development agencies (RDAs). It also wants 65 million extra for the Scottish Parliament, 30 million for the Welsh Assembly and 30 million for Northern Ireland.

It says that regional initiatives are the only way to combat pockets of low skill and low income in some regions of the UK.

A special TUC report ‘Half the World Away – making regional development work’ says the UK has lower productivity and higher regional inequality compared with its European competitors. In fact, the UK is second only to Mexico in its variation of GDP across territories, making the inequality between parts of England some of the most dramatic in the industrialised world.

The 70-page report recommends:

–    RDAs should be given clear lead responsibility in the regions for economic development issues

–    greater RDA control over the delivery of DTI budgets

–    RDAs to act as the hub in developing effective technology transfer networks, as in in Europe and the US

–    new guidance on the importance of partnership at all levels in the region as a key productivity driver.

It can be found at www.tuc.org.uk/em_research/tuc-5135-f0.cfm