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I have met the Northwest Regional Development Agency and I have suggested to it that under the new structures that will be created-the local enterprise partnerships, and local businesses working with their local councils-it will have an opportunity to bid for status in order to carry forward useful projects that support development on the ground. There will be a change-those RDAs are going to be restructured-but there is a role for that kind of innovation locally.
The shadow Chancellor talked at some length about the need for growth. He is right that we need growth, but it has to be sustainable. We had a decade of what seemed at the time, at least to some Labour Members, to be strong economic growth. I am sure that hon. Members will remember, as I do, all those Budgets in which the then Chancellor told us that we had achieved the highest rate of growth since the Hanoverians-I think it was even the Roman empire on one occasion-and talked about a boom in employment. But the house was built on sand and it was all a mirage. It was not sustainable. It was based on levels of personal debt and Government borrowing that could not be sustained; it was also based on a housing market that could not be sustained and on a fragile banking system. We have to restore growth, but it has to be sustainable. That is what the Budget was about.
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