The prospects for the South West economy are positive and the region has shown resilience through the economic downturn, according to MPs on the South West Select Committee. The report warns, however, that small businesses are still finding it difficult to secure loans and also says more needs to be done to equip the region as a whole with adequate broadband coverage. It also points out that further cuts in government spending could harm parts of the region that depend on public sector jobs.

The report looks at:

€ The opportunities that green industries might provide for the people of the region in terms of jobs, skills, supply chains, investment, and the quality of life.

€ The importance of small and micro businesses, and social enterprises, for the region and the remarkable resilience they have shown through the recession.

€ The need for greater broadband coverage across the region - especially in rural areas.

Chair of the Committee Alison Seabeck MP said:

" Overall the prospects for the South West appear to be positive and there is no doubt that the region has, so far, weathered the storm of recession well."

"Now the South West must make the most of the opportunities that the exciting new low-carbon industries can bring to the region.

"Extending broadband coverage to every part of the South West is absolutely crucial to help rural and peripheral areas to get better connected and become more competitive.

"The region also needs to understand better what it can do to help small businesses expand and export more."

The Committee is calling for:

€ The Government to maintain pressure on the banks to help small and medium sized businesses through the Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme.

€ Local authorities to sign up to the 'prompt payment pledge' - to show they are leading from the front in supporting local businesses and jobs.

€ A fair distribution of public sector jobs to the South West as a result of the Smith Review on Civil Service relocation.