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A tricky one, there is a lot of public money going in, and a need to spend that wisely and accountably, so its hardly surprising a lot of agencies are present on the ground.

It probably could do with tidying up, and certainly external representation is a total mess. Doesn't help that tourism is officially regionalised now, with the ludicrous "England's North West" concept and campaign that doesn't even apply to a real region (real as in accepted by those who supposedly live in it).

I am not sure it is true that Manchester's public agencies have actually been smarter or more streamlined than in other places, the city has locational advantages for some businesses and has enjoyed some good fortune in recent years. There are other cities that might be regarded as having enjoyed better quality co-ordination of public and business support agencies - such as Sheffield - that have failed to attract many quality private sector relocations. So we should be careful about putting two and two together and making five here, the business support and public agencies may have been piss poor but a business was just going to go there anywhere.

There is a lot of boasting in regeneration and local government, and bandwagons - thus if a city has a spot of luck or good fortune and receives a couple of prestige projects, suddenly the sun shines out of the public agencies who were around to take the call and send out the leaflet etc.

Don't you think that if the Chinese car company had done a deal with Rover in the past week, that Government ministers, Advantage West Midlands (the West Midlands RDA) and everyone else with a potential stake would have been crowing about how they had secured this triumph for Birmingham and the UK? Because the talks have stalled, there is not a peep - people walk away and say "nothing to do with me" when things don't go so well. So we don't have to suffer any nauseating full page adverts in The Economist from Advantage West Midlands crowing about how they have secured "World Class Leadership in Auto Engineering for a World Class Region" or whatever insane bullshit they would have used public money to boast with if a deal had gone through.
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