Examination of Witnesses (Questions 260-265)|
TUESDAY 5 MARCH 2002
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.
264. Upon what do you believe their fears are
(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
Chairman: I realise you have to be tactful.
Thank you very much.