§ Mr. Stephen O'Brien
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment she has made of the impact that Faraday Partnerships have had on(a) the overall productivity of UK businesses and (b) reducing disparities in regional productivity. 
§ Ms Hewitt
The 24 Faraday Partnerships were designated on the basis of the needs of their respective sectors to accelerate new product development based on research. They feed into DTI's overall objectives for improving productivity and competitiveness in the UK.67W
The Partnerships operate against business plans that are individually agreed with the public sectors sponsors (typically DTI and one or more Research Councils). Progress against the business plan is regularly assessed.
Partnerships do not have a specific objective to reduce disparities in regional productivity; their aims are to improve knowledge transfer and overall performance in UK businesses wherever they are to be found.