Devolution and the Politics
of Business Representation
Dave Valler, Nick Phelps, Mike Raco, Pete Shirlow, Andrew Wood
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The project explores the form and impact of business responses to devolution in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions. It will analyse the emerging relationships between business and the new devolved bodies and identify how far business policy agendas are formulated and presented in new ways as a result of devolution.
There has been a strong economic rationale underlying devolution in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the establishment of Regional Development Agencies and Regional Chambers in the nine English regions. Government policy at all levels has emphasised that partnership forms of governance are central to the new arrangements and that business interests have a strong role to play. In the UK, however, business interest representation at the regional scale has historically been underdeveloped. Other than the Confederation of British Industry, which has a set of regional branches, representative business organisations tend to be either locally rooted, as in the case of chambers of commerce, or predominantly organised on a national scale, such as the various trade associations. As such appeals for business involvement in the new devolved arrangements raise questions about how far business interest representation needs to be reorganised territorially and about the impact of business organisation on policy making.
The project will examine the relationship between processes of devolution and the form, character and impact of business political responses in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the English regions.
• Identify and map existing and emerging patterns of business representation in each of the UK regions
• Examine the relationship between different levels and trajectories of political devolution and the changing extent and form of business representation in more in-depth studies of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and the Eastern and Yorkshire and the Humber regions in England
• Compare the character and content of business agendas articulated around the devolved institutions, and to examine how and to what extent these agendas are realised.
The research will commence in 2001 with desk-based research to map the legislative, organisational and institutional arrangements for business representation. The results of this exercise will be presented to an international workshop drawing in continental European experience of multi-level business representation. Later phases of research will consist of documentary analysis, supplemented by elite interviews with business representatives and with local, regional and central government officials.
Dave Valler, et al:
'Business and the Region', The Regional Review , Vol. 11, p.46
Dave Valler, Phelps, N, Wood, A :
'Devolution, regionalism and local economic development'
Editorial Introduction to special edition of Local Economy, Volume 17 issue 3, pp. 186-190
Cooke: New Models of Development Funding in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales
Goodwin - Economic Governance Post-Devolution
Mawson: Emerging Patterns of Governance in the English Regions
Tickell - Economic Networks in South East England