Session 2002-03 6 December 2002


The Committee has resolved to undertake an inquiry into how the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister is going to achieve its target to "reduce the persistent gap in growth rates between regions". Matters of concern include:

•the importance of achieving this target,

•whether and how the target can be achieved with current and proposed policies, including:

-the impact of current regional strategies;

-whether the introduction of the nine Regional Development Agencies has contributed towards a reduction in, or increased the disparities between the regions;

-whether the proposals for regional assemblies will make a difference to the achievement of this target;

•whether a coherent national policy can be achieved; and, if so, how;

•what lessons can be learned from past regional policies;

•what changes to policies are required to achieve the target, including whether Government departments, agencies and non-departmental public bodies should be moved to less prosperous regions; and

•how much additional funding is needed in the poorest performing regions.

Witnesses are invited to submit memoranda to the Committee on the points below and other relevant topics by Monday 3 February.  It is unlikely that memoranda submitted after this date will be published. (Witnesses who wish their memoranda to be treated in confidence should contact the Committee Clerk in advance.)  Witnesses should also note that decisions about who to call for oral evidence are likely to be taken on the basis of the evidence received by this date.

Evidence should be sent to the Clerk, Committee Office, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London SW1P 3JA, in electronic version in MS Word or Rich Text format, either by e-mail to odpmcom@parliament.uk  or on a disk accompanying the hard copy; witnesses without access to a computer are respectfully requested to take particular care that submissions are legible.  Please note that memoranda should be limited in length to six A4 pages.  Memoranda submitted to the Committee should be kept confidential until published by the Committee.Guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at www.parliament.uk/selcom/witguide.htm

Contact: David Harrison, Clerk  020 7 219 3289.