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The eight Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) were established under the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998, and were formally launched in eight English regions on 1 April 1999. The ninth, in London, was established in July 2000 following the establishment of the Greater London Authority (GLA). Responsibility for sponsorship of the RDAs moved from the former Department for the Environment, Transport & the Regions to the DTI in 2001, and then to BERR on its creation in Summer 2007.
Their primary role is as strategic drivers of regional economic development in their region. The RDAs aim to co-ordinate regional economic development and regeneration, enable the regions to improve their relative competitiveness and reduce the imbalance that exists within and between regions.
Under the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998, each Agency has five statutory purposes, which are:
The RDAs' agenda includes regeneration, taking forward regional competitiveness, taking the lead on inward investment and, working with regional partners, ensuring the development of a skills action plan to ensure that skills training matches the needs of the labour market.