Promoting economic growth locally - Public Accounts Committee Contents


After the abolition of the Regional Development Agencies, the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (the Departments) set up a range of new initiatives for promoting local economic growth, including Local Enterprise Partnerships, the Regional Growth Fund, Enterprise Zones, the Growing Places Fund and City Deals. Initially the programme lacked clarity and coordination between the initiatives, and progress in creating jobs has so far fallen below the Departments' initial expectations. The Departments have not spent the money available as quickly as expected and they now face a challenge in spending the funds available by the end of 2014-15; for example, under the Regional Growth Fund, the largest of the schemes, the Departments now plan to spend £1.4 billion in 2014-15, compared to the £1.2 billion spent in the first three years. The Departments also need to address the problem of some intermediaries having been too slow to distribute funds to front-line projects. The Departments should also improve their monitoring systems so that they can distinguish the impact of individual schemes, improve data on which to base future investment decisions, and prepare the ground for well informed evaluation. In 2015 the Local Growth Fund will replace much of the existing funding for local economic growth and this will be an opportunity to apply lessons learned from the current range of initiatives. The Departments must, from the outset, set out clearly how the new fund will be monitored and evaluated, and what action they will take if performance falls short.

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Prepared 16 May 2014