HC Deb 04 November 2003 vol 412 cc561-3W
Mr. Djanogly

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to strengthen regional economies in the UK. [134870]

1997; what these figures represent as a percentage of the total work force, broken down by nation and region; and if she will make a statement. [133497]

Mr. Sutcliffe

The following tables show the available information. The notification requirements apply only where an employer proposes to make redundant 20 or more employees at one establishment. Such notifications should be made 30 days in advance. If an employer proposes to make 100 or more employees redundant at one establishment, the notifications should be 90 days in advance. In addition, there is no information about how many of the proposed redundancies actually take place. The purpose of the advance notifications is to alert trade unions and employment and other support services to likely future job losses. They do not purport to represent a measure of the numbers of redundancies occurring in the economy.

Table 1 shows the total numbers of proposed redundancies notified. Table 2 shows these numbers as a percentage of the total number of employee jobs in England, Scotland and Wales, respectively. There are no percentages for individual regions of England as the figures for notified proposed redundancies are not compiled on the same regional basis as those for employee jobs.

Jacqui Smith

The Department jointly owns, along with the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and the Treasury, a public service agreement to make sustainable improvements in the economic performance of all English regions and, over the long term, reduce the persistent gap in growth rates between the regions. The joint team taking this work forward has been reviewing the key drivers of economic growth in the regions and the market failures which result in under-performance in some of them, and examining the regional impact of current policies in the three departments and across Government. A coherent and effective package of policy proposals will then be developed to be taken forward as part of the next spending review and beyond.

In addition, strengthening regional economies and improving the economic performance of the regions forms one of the key areas identified in DTI's five-year strategy, launched in September 2003. Regional thinking will play a bigger role in DTI policy formation, so that national and regional strategies reinforce and complement each other. As part of this, DTI will consider regional impacts throughout its business planning process. The Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) have a pivotal role to play as strategic drivers of regional economic development. Funding for the RDAs under the Single Pot is set to rise: it will be worth £2 billion a year in 2005–06—up from £1.8 billion in 2003–04.