Headlines: August 7th, 2009

England’s Regional Development Agencies are meeting the objectives, milestones and targets set out in their corporate plans according to performance reports published by the Government. It says the reports underline the value of the agencies following an independent study earlier this year, which showed that every pound invested by RDAs would generate at least four pounds fifty for their local economies.

The Minister for Regional Economic Development, Rosie Winterton, said the Regional Development Agencies were playing a key role in the response to the global economic downturn. “They have risen to the immediate challenge of the recession with one eye firmly fixed on the future and the upturn,” she said and added: “By working with their local and national partners, RDAs are making a real difference.”

The RDA funded BusinessLink service has refocused its service to meet the immediate needs of businesses to survive and prepare for the upturn. Over the last year the service has nationally supported 942,166 businesses, the majority of which are Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which are the backbone of the country’s business community. Businesses can now access a vast range of advice and support through the single BusinessLink portal.

The reports highlight the key achievements of the RDA funded Business Link network which had refocused its service to meet the immediate needs of businesses to survive and to be ready for the upturn. It has also provided financial stimulus packages and transitional loan funds. The RDAs have also worked with Area Action Teams to respond to companies in difficulty.

Speaking for the RDAs, Richard Ellis, who chairs the East of England Development Agency, said: “RDAs are delivering vital help and support to businesses during the recession. We have provided 110 million pounds to fund national schemes to support business and we committed quickly to a range of practical measures designed to help SMEs, such as paying suppliers within 10 working days.”