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To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
(1) pursuant to his statement of 11 February 2013, Official Report, column 33WS, on Regional Growth Fund: Update, whether the Independent Advisory Panel to the Regional Growth Fund will be providing independent advice to his Department for the exceptional Regional Growth Fund;
(2) what additional independent sources of advice (a) he and (b) his officials will seek when considering bids to the exceptional Regional Growth Fund apart from the existing Independent Advisory Panel to the Regional Growth Fund.
All applications for exceptional support from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) will be scrutinised by my noble Friends Lord Heseltine and Lord Shipley, as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel. Their comments and recommendations will then be considered, alongside advice from officials, by Ministers who will make final decisions.
In formulating their advice officials will seek the advice of the Industrial Development Advisory Board, which has a statutory role to advise the Secretary of State on the use of his powers under sections 7 and 8 of the Industrial Development Act. This board has considerable private sector expertise and will provide independent expert advice on all exceptional RGF applications seeking support of £2 million or more, and those applications for less than £2 million which are considered novel, contentious or repercussive.
Finally, all awards will be subject to independent due diligence before being finalised.