This year’s Budget statement set out plans for much slower growth in public spending over the 2008/09 - 2010/11 period than had been seen in the previous six years. We welcome the decision to reduce the share of public spending in the economy, which will provide the basis for restoring the competitiveness of our tax system. The emphasis on improving the efficiency of public services is also critical, though it is important that progress is scrutinised closely to ensure that real and lasting gains in efficiency are being achieved.
However, it is also vital that the Spending Review takes a close look at the effectiveness of public spending across government. Our submission draws on evidence from a range of recent EEF research reports to support a recommendation on how to achieve this. It focuses on how support for business can be organised better, both nationally and regionally. In particular, we believe that it is timely to look at the impact of the Regional Development Agencies and how their effectiveness can be improved.
We also set out priorities for manufacturing in three areas – skills, innovation and export support. We are conscious of
how challenging it will be to meet these priorities in the coming spending round. Many of our proposals therefore
focus on making existing programmes more effective while cutting out waste and duplication.