HC Deb 22 March 2001 vol 365 c304W
25. Mr. Healey

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on his measures to support the development of industrial clusters. [153656]

Ms Hewitt

The Government recognise the importance of clusters and networks and are working closely with the RDAs to identify and remove barriers to their growth and development. In the White Paper "Opportunity for All in a World of Change", published on 13 February, the Government set out their proposals to promote the growth of successful clusters by asking the RDAs to develop strategies for success for their regions, building on their existing strengths. They will do so with the assistance of a report, "Business Clusters in the UK: A First Assessment", which was also published on 13 February.

Key aspects of clusters policy were discussed at a conference in Nottingham involving Government, RDAs and other stakeholders on 8 and 9 March.

Government funding for cluster development will continue to be provided to RDAs via the Regional Innovation Fund. Continued work on clusters will be undertaken by Lord Sainsbury's Clusters Policy Steering Group.