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Facilitate Economic Success at National, Regional and Local Levels

The economic success or failure of a town or city has an impact well beyond its administrative boundaries. It influences the prosperity of the surrounding area. The major conurbations influence the entire region and make a key contribution to the national economy. Conversely the surrounding areas have a significant impact on the quality of life of towns and cities.  The performance of towns and cities is a major component of the success of the national economy as a whole. They in turn are influenced by the performance of the rest of the economy and the fiscal and other measures taken by government to manage the national economy.  At the regional and local level, market towns also perform a vital role for their surrounding rural areas.  Given these inter-relationships it is essential that action at the national, regional, local and neighbourhood level is closely co-ordinated and mutually reinforcing. The following looks at the roles and responsibilities of bodies at each level and how they need to fit together.

National Strategies

National government has the responsibility for establishing a macro-economic framework that supports a strong and stable economy.

Macro-economic frameworks should be established for both monetary and fiscal policy, designed to avoid policies, which lead to boom and bust cycles. These cycles are enormously damaging to the economy. For example, each downturn leads to more people becoming detached from the labour market.

The macro-economic frameworks should lead to stability and steady growth; inflation should remain close to target; and employment should rise.

Regional Strategies

At the regional level strategies should be established to:

bulletFurther the economic development and the regeneration of the area.
bulletPromote business efficiency, investment and competitiveness in the area.
bulletPromote employment in the area.
bulletEnhance the development and application of skills relevant to employment in the area.
bulletContribute to the achievement of sustainable development in the whole country.

The regional bodies responsible for regeneration process should:

bulletInfluence the way in which central government polices and programmes are developed and implemented to maximise their contribution to the regionís economic objectives.
bulletUndertake major regeneration projects, improve physical infrastructure and help others to regenerate their local areas.
bulletPromote their region abroad to attract inward investment (including EC funding), international networks and trade.
bulletSupport businesses and promote innovation and cluster development.
bulletWork with council, business sector groups and national training organisations to ensure that skills training matches the needs of the labour market.
bulletWork with higher education regional associations and individual higher education institutions to optimise higher educationís contribution to urban regeneration.

Local Actions

The key to delivering effective action at the local level is the development of a tailor-made community strategy by a local strategic partnership, involving local businesses, local authorities, community groups and other key stakeholders.  Promoting race equality will give added impetus to the need to ensure that ethnic minority communities are fully engaged in this.

Sustainable economic development should be a central element of every community strategy, building as appropriate on the existing business base. The local strategic partnership should carefully assess the economic situation of their area to build up a better understanding of the economic portfolio they offer businesses.

They then need to formulate a strategy, which capitalises on their assets and opportunities and addresses any weaknesses or threats. In doing this they should regard the governmentís policies and programmes as building blocks, and agree with key service providers how they should be used to produce the best overall result for the local area.