§ Mr. Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions if he will make a statement on the recent report by Cardiff University on the effect of the Government's regional development policies on competitiveness differentials between regions. 
§ Ms Beverley Hughes
A central plank of the Government's economic policy is to improve the competitiveness of our regions. That is why we set up the Regional Development Agencies (RDAs), to address the disparities which had been allowed to grow within and between the regions under the previous administration. The RDAs have made an excellent start—securing thousands of jobs, as well as providing new work sites, promoting regeneration and reclaiming derelict sites. We are also looking to strengthen their 407W role as economic drivers, and have embarked on a package of measures to ensure our regions have the skills and knowledge needed to compete successfully in the modern global marketplace.