Government to scrap South East development agency
The South East England Development Agency (Seeda) is to be abolished, the government has announced.
It confirmed in Tuesday's budget its intention to replace regional development agencies (RDAs) with Local Enterprise Partnerships.
The process will begin with a white paper to be published later in the summer.
Seeda was established in 1999 with the aim of supporting the economic development of the region.
'Future is local'
Pam Alexander, chief executive officer of Seeda, said: "The government's policy to close RDAs and replace them with Local Enterprise Partnerships is very clear.
"As an economic development agency our only interest is in the growth and competitiveness of the South East economy and we are committed to working with government and stakeholders to implement the required structural changes in a way that minimises disruption to business and support for growth."
Earlier, a body representing local councils across the South East said the agency should be abolished as it was "bureaucratic" and councils should get the money instead.
South East England Councils (SEEC) chairman and Conservative leader of Kent County Council, Councillor Paul Carter, said: "The future is local. We need to strip away the old bureaucratic, regional structures quickly.
"Councils in the South East are ready and willing to take on the role of working with businesses."
Regional development agencies were created by Labour to further development, employment, business efficiency and skills.