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Businesswoman Juliet Williams takes over from retiring chair Sir Michael Lickiss in December at the South West of England RDA. Meanwhile Jim Brathwaite becomes the first RDA chair from an ethnic minority, replacing Allan Willett at the South East England Development Agency. Nick Paul, a member of the Confederation of British Industry’s national manufacturing council, is to be the new chair at Advantage West Midlands, while Sir Martin Harris, vice-chancellor of Manchester University, is the new deputy chair at the Northwest Development Agency. Ms Williams, who has lived and worked in the south west for more than 25 years, told New Start it was a privilege to have the chance to contribute to the region where she had spend most of her working life.

I have always been employed as a person as opposed to having anything to do with my gender. I am more than well aware there’s plenty remaining to be done, but I think what I am here to do is to build on what’s already been achieved by the team in situ and to be creative and innovative and develop ideas with them. Ms Williams spent 17 years as a chief executive of companies in the publishing and direct marketing industry, before starting her own consultancy. for more info: E Conveyancing Brisbane

The government was blamed this week for losing massive private investment in large-scale regeneration projects in inner cities and on brownfield sites. The Commons transport, local government and regions committee claimed private sector investment had fallen sharply since European commissioners outlawed the government’s Partnership Investment Programme because it broke state aid rules. After the PIP scheme stopped in 1999, the government had failed to negotiate an equally effective replacement, the MPs said. The impact the ruling had on the English Cities Fund was ‘particularly disappointing’, their report said. It called on the government to try again ‘to develop a new vehicle that fulfils the objectives of the urban white paper, within state aid constraints’.

A spokesperson for the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said: ‘We welcome the committee’s interest in this very important issue. We will give a detailed response in due course. He said the government was pleased that the committee had endorsed its ‘twin track approach’ to negotiating with the commission, seeking permission for individual programmes, such as a housing fund, while lobbying for a single, overarching framework. Backbench MPs have launched a scathing attack on the government for cashing in on land sales from England’s new towns while ignoring their need for regeneration. f

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