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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 October 2006, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Regional quango comes under fire
Milan Radulovic
Cllr Radulovic says EMDA has not been a success
East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) should be scrapped, a leading Labour politician from Nottingham has said.

EMDA, created by the Labour government in 1999, promotes the regional economy with an annual 164m budget.

Milan Radulovic, leader of Broxtowe District Council, said EMDA's administrative costs are too high and its decision-making is not transparent.

But EMDA leaders argue it is fully accountable and scrutinised by both Parliament and East Midlands Assembly.

Abolition call

EMDA chief executive, Jeff Moore, said the agency created or safeguarded 8,193 jobs last year.

"It is our responsibility to cut through the labyrinth of bureaucracy," he said.

He added: "I suspect Councillor Radulovic's argument is with the government for the reporting regime it created rather than with the regional development agency (EMDA) itself."

But Councillor Radulovic said: "I don't call for the legitimacy of EMDA. I call for its abolition. It's not achieved its objectives and as far as I'm concerned it takes vital resources away from local industry and commerce."

The government is moving to give regional quangos more power.

Next year, the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) will give regional development agencies the job of overseeing and funding a new programme to support economic development in rural areas.

Simon Fisher of the National Farmers' Union said he thought EMDA would make a better job of helping farmers than Defra.

But Conservative MP Caroline Spelman, the Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, said: "The regional development agencies remain only accountable to Whitehall and I argue they should be accountable to elected local politicians that you or I could vote out if we don't like it."

Nottingham businessman Harry Skidmore told the BBC's Politics Show: "We (the business community) do support EMDA. But to be honest I don't think EMDA will ever understand business.

"So we can't ask them to understand business - what we want them to do is to give us a little bit more rope and support in terms of helping us to help ourselves."


SEE ALSO
Emda 'ensures business survival'
25 Jul 04 |  Nottinghamshire
Chief executive to leave agency
15 Jul 04 |  Nottinghamshire
New chairman for regional agency
29 Jun 04 |  Nottinghamshire

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