Page last updated at 00:56 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Budget cuts 'could hurt' Yorkshire and Humber region

Manufacturing site
Yorkshire Forward recently set up a manufacturing taskforce

Cuts to the budget of the Yorkshire and Humber regional development agency could damage the region's economic recovery, a new report has found.

Yorkshire Forward was set up in 1999 to further economic development and regeneration in the region.

A report by a committee of MPs has praised Yorkshire Forward's work.

It said the agency's budget had been cut by 23.9% from £360m in 2009/10 to £277m in 2010/11 and warned it should not face further funding cuts.

The Yorkshire and the Humber Committee was set up in 2009 to examine Yorkshire Forward's effectiveness.

In its report, the committee said it was "concerned about the impact of budget cuts and a reduction in funding on the work of Yorkshire Forward in the region".

'Vital work'

"Having incurred a 23.9% reduction in total financial resources for 2010/11, we recommend that Yorkshire Forward has no further decreases in its budget," the committee said.

"We are particularly concerned that counter-recessionary spending should be funded by government and should not be at the expense of existing projects, otherwise this may damage the prospects of the region's recovery from recession."

The committee also said it was "concerned that there may be a poor level of understanding of [Yorkshire Forward's] work, particularly in terms of benefits and achievements, among the general public".

Committee chairman Eric Illsley, Labour MP for Barnsley Central, said: "Yorkshire Forward does important work in the region supporting business and promoting economic development.

"As a committee, we believe the agency's budget should not be cut any further so that it can continue doing its vital work to help the region's economy.

"Now that the agency is taking on new responsibilities in respect of transport, housing and planning, it must take care that these do not detract from its primary focus to boost economic development in the region."

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