Report Published: The South East England Development Agency and the Regional Economic Strategy

14 September 2009: For immediate release          

The South East Regional Committee today releases its first report of session 2008-09, entitled South East England Regional Development Agency and the Regional Economic Strategy.

The chair of the Committee Dr Stephen Ladyman MP said: 

"Parliament established Regional Select Committees to provide greater accountability over Government agencies, which spend millions of pounds of taxpayers money in the regions.

The South East Regional Committee felt it was important that its first inquiry should be into the role of SEEDA and the Regional Economic Strategy - and whether it is helping the South East get through the downturn.

We are pleased today to be releasing our first report as a result of this inquiry, which largely finds that SEEDA is adding value to the region in a cost-effective way."

The inquiry looked at:
•     the role, responsibilities and accountability of SEEDA, 

•     the process by which the RES was drawn up and the level of involvement of regional stakeholders, 

•     the effectiveness of the RES for the South East in delivering against its targets including the degree to which the regeneration of areas of deprivation and the former coalfield areas has been successful, 

•         the effect of the financial and economic situation on businesses in the region including the effect on different sectors such as manufacturing, service industries etc, 

•       the changes to regional policy proposed in the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill and the potential effect on the work of SEEDA, 

•         the role of other Government agencies such as the Government Office for the South East, and of partnerships between Government agencies, local government and the private sector, in delivering the aims of the RES, and 

•       how effective initiatives such as Business Link are being in assisting businesses in the current climate, including helping them to gain  access to funding both from Government funding streams and through the banking system.