§ Mr. Sheerman
To ask the President of the Board of Trade what encouragement she is giving for the creation of innovation strategies in each English region. 
§ Mr. Battle
Innovation is vital to competitiveness and my Department has taken a keen interest in the development of these strategies, which are bringing together the key public and private sector partners involved in developing and enhancing the innovative capacity of a region. Amongst other regional visits I recently spoke at the Innovation Forum in Wakefield in support of an example of successful partnership in Yorkshire and the Humber.
Government Offices are involved, with partners, in formulating and implementing the strategies and my Department is supporting them in this role. For example, my officials seek to facilitate the spread of best practice between regions.
In the future, the Regional Development Agencies will have responsibility for co-ordinating the regional innovation strategies and my Department will, of course, continue to provide advice and support as required.