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Having found that the South West Regional Development Agency is the shadowy body which decided to interpret the State Aid Rules in such a way that practically no farm based business could recieve assistancefrom the SW Business Recovery Fund, I have been trying again to find out a little more about that entity: what it is and who directs it.
It seems to have nothing to do with local democracy.
Its own website offers this:
"The decision to establish Regional Development Agencies was taken by the Government in 1997 following a manifesto commitment to give more emphasis to regional development in England.
"The White Paper 'Building Partnerships for Prosperity' was launched in December 1997 and, following a period of consultation, the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998 was passed by Parliament.
"The process of setting up RDAs, including the South West of England Regional Development Agency (South West RDA), followed immediately, with Chairmen being appointed during the summer of 1998 and Board members on 1st December. Sir Michael Lickiss was appointed as Chairman of the South West RDA, with 12 other Board members drawn from a range of interests and backgrounds in the region.
"The Board of the South West RDA first met on the 16th December 1998 with the Agency becoming fully operational in April 1999."
The section which describes the board members says that there are now 14 members, soon to be 15. In keeping with its "openness policy" it only lists 13! None have any base in farming, family farms, or any thing similar [I discount Jonathon Porritt who I presume is the token 'Environmental representative'].
I notice that included is:
"Colin is 56 years old and lives in Bath. He has been Chief Executive of Wessex Water since 1989, and Chairman as well since its takeover by Azurix Corp, a US based global water business in 1997..."
I presume that Azurix Corp is the alias used by Enron when they took over Wessex Water. They made him Chairman.
Who exactly was it that drew the board members of the SWRDA "from a range of interests and backgrounds in the region" and gave them powers over the locally elected bodies?