Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260-265)



  260. Do you know what types of project it is less well suited to?
  (Ms Nimmo) I would agree with Tom, in that I do not think the public sector should be interfering and taking over the market. There was a long history of the public sector being seen to interfere with the market, crowding out the private sector, building things that are potentially inappropriate without the key skills to do it. I totally agree with Tom that public/private Partnership is the way forward, because it leverages in the maximum amount of private sector investment with the minimum amount of public sector investment.

  261. What could the Government do in the short term to improve the mechanisms and powers available to yourselves?
  (Ms Nimmo) For me, I think the fundamental issue is clarifying this issue of state aid and championing the cause in Brussels to break this link between regeneration and state aid, because it really is holding us back, the next priority is in making the existing regimes that we have more flexible. We very much welcome the Single Pot initiative of the RDA. We would like to see more of that happening, giving us much more flexibility in terms of how we use those tools, how we implement them, and free-ing up the rules on only being able to commit funding to projects on an annual basis. We need much greater flexibility of time as well as as to what we can spend the money on.

  262. Do you think the Department is moribund on this particular issue?
  (Ms Nimmo) I will let Tom deal with that.


  263. Do you think it is being generous to the Department to call them moribund?
  (Ms Nimmo) There is a certain paranoia and control. We need to do what they are doing in the Health Service now, local authorities and agencies that are performing well in regeneration and have earned their spurs should be able to have more control over their future programmes. Only agencies and local authorities that are not performing need that micro management from the centre.

Mr Cummings

  264. Upon what do you believe their fears are based?
  (Mr Russell) You need to ask them that.


  265. We will certainly be asking them that, but would you say that the Department's approach is a shambles?
  (Mr Russell) I would say that the Department is not prioritising.

  Chairman: I realise you have to be tactful. Thank you very much.

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