Robert Hough

Hough rules out NWDA bid to become Enterprise Partnership

Robert Hough, chairman of the North West Development Agency, this morning issued a statement "in response to a number of media reports on the NWDA's future."

Hough said: "The NWDA is not seeking to run an Enterprise Partnership for the Northwest. The coalition Government has made it quite clear that RDAs are being abolished and we are currently working with Government and our staff to ensure an orderly process is followed, that staff are supported and that we leave the strongest legacy for the whole of the Northwest region with continued economic recovery.

"In terms of the future structure of economic development in the region, there remains a number of uncertainties that will become clear as the Government publishes its proposals for Local Enterprise Partnerships. What is certain is that the NWDA will not bid to be a LEP. There could be support for a relatively small strategic body that underpins and supports the work of LEPs. However, this is for local authorities and business groups to consider in formulating any LEP proposals."

George Osborne confirmed in June that RDAs would be abolished and replaced by LEPs. A white paper on LEPs and regional governance is due in the coming months. A campaign has started among local business leaders and pressure groups to maintain a regional voice for lobbying central government on key policy areas and investment.

Hough added: "Partnership working has always been a huge asset to the Northwest. Without it, we would not have seen projects such as MediaCityUK, Daresbury Science and Innovation Campus and European Capital of Culture become a reality. It's up to all of us now to maintain the strong sense of momentum that has been crucial in the region to support economic recovery."

The NWDA is currently seeking to find cost savings of £52m, or 18.2%, from this year's budget of £270m.

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