Nottingham

Regional development agency to slash £28m from budget

Cuts to the budget of the East Midlands Development Agency will reach £28m in the next year, the BBC has learned.

A freedom of information request has revealed the Nottingham-based agency will cut £2.4m from the Nottingham rail station revamp.

A total of £10.4m will be taken from economic development budgets allocated to local authorities in the region.

The agency has been told by the government to slash its budget as part of public spending cuts.

'Wasted money'

The government has already announced England's regional development agencies will be closed down in 2012.

EMDA board member Gary Hunt said many people did not realise just how much the agency had done for the region.

"I think we have got it more right than people believe, it's just that if there isn't a big name on a retail park somewhere or an industrial park somewhere, then people cannot see it," Mr Hunt said.

"People have got jobs and people are working - that is the success of EMDA," he added.

But Jaspal Minhas, of the Leicester Asian Business Association, said: "We feel that taxpayers' money has been wasted by EMDA and they haven't really achieved a great deal.

"I don't think they have done enough to promote the region in India and Africa."

Tourism industry

The agency said it would cut money from a total of 40 projects.

Spending on attracting foreign firms to the East Midlands and on exports is also being slashed by £1m.

The Business Link programme, which gives advice to businesses across the East Midlands, is losing £998,000.

Other cuts include £138,000 earmarked for East Midlands tourism to promote the region to visitors and help the region's tourism industry with skills development.

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