England

Government scraps East of England Development Agency

The future of 245 jobs has been put in jeopardy following the decision to scrap the East of England Development Agency (EEDA).

The Cambridgeshire-based quango is one of the development agencies scrapped by the government because it argues it is not providing value for money.

The government is replacing Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) with Local Economic Partnerships (LEPs).

The RDAs were set up by the Labour government about 10 years ago.

Over the years EEDA has invested almost £32m in the regeneration of Ipswich waterfront and more than £14m on a new University of Essex campus at Southend.

It also invested more than £8m to provide a deep-water outer harbour at Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.

'Efficient organisation'

But critics pointed to the huge cost of running EEDA, with staff costs of more than £13.5m a year in the latest accounts.

Professor William Pope, chair of EEDA, said: "In the transition to new arrangements our responsibility is clear - to support continued investment in economic development and growth in the East of England.

"EEDA is an effective and efficient organisation and our achievements have been independently evaluated by the National Audit Office - it says we are a strong-performing organisation.

"In the longer term, we continue to work with businesses and local authorities to plan for the future and ensure a smooth and professional transition to new economic development arrangements."

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