HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc67-8W
Mr. Stephen O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what measures are being taken to(a) raise awareness of regional venture capital funds

Jacqui Smith

Information on regional development agencies' achievements against targets set for 2002–03 was published on 7 July 2003, copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

As regards the Regional Economic Strategies, the East Midlands Development Agency, One North East, the Northwest Development Agency, the South East of England Development Agency, the South West Regional Development Agency and Yorkshire Forward, published their Regions' current strategies in 2002, Advantage West Midlands and the London Development Agency published theirs in 2003 and the East of England Development Agency will publish a revised Strategy in 2004. The current Corporate Plans for each RDA cover the period 2003–06 and were approved by Ministers and published in 2003. The Regional Economic Strategies and Corporate Plans are available on each RDA's website.

Mr. Betts

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many staff each Regional Development Agency employs; what the total salary bill of each agency was in the last year for which figures are available; what the average salary per employee was in each case; and what the proportion of staff salary per thousand head of population was in each case. [154335]

Jacqui Smith

[holding answer 11 February 2004]: The information is set out according to the most recent RDA annual reports for year ending 31 March 2003 (for reference the website for each RDA is provided in the table).

and (b) reduce regional disparities in application levels, especially within areas of lower entrepreneurial activity. [153582]

Nigel Griffiths

Government have invested £120,000 to raise awareness of the Regional Venture Capital Funds including holding a National Conference. We have also supported the regional launches of the nine Regional Venture Capital Funds and I have attended several events to launch or promote RVCF.

Officials regularly review the performance of all the Funds including the number of applications received. Any areas of concern are raised by my officials at the regular Advisory Committee meetings. I have asked officials to investigate any regional disparities and to report their findings back me.