HC Deb 28 February 1997 vol 291 c413W
Mr. Carttiss

To ask the President of the Board of Trade what plans he has to improve the arrangements for attracting inward investment into the eastern region; and if he will make a statement. [18558]

Mr. Greg Knight

The attraction of inward investment is a major UK success story and the Government intend to maintain this excellent record. In England, there are already eight regional development organisations working in partnership with my Department's own Invest in Britain Bureau to attract inward investment.

I consider it important for an RDO to be established in the east of England because the region has some unique strengths that could help it to win business in a very competitive environment. I have been impressed, too, by the strength of the public and private sector partnership that has got the East of England Investment Agency under way so quickly.

I am therefore announcing today a £505,000 grant, which will help the East of England Investment Agency to be launched formally in 1997–98 and hit the ground running. It is proof of our continuing commitment to the encouragement of inward investment.

The many global companies already operating in the east of England are a clear endorsement of the advantages of doing business here and I have no doubt that the East of England Investment Agency will play a key role in maximising those benefits for the regional economy.