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Jobs cull as agency is hit with £50m shortfall

PUBLISHED: 17:25 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 10:36 23 August 2010

A DEVELOPMENT agency is set to axe about 90 jobs because of a £50 million budget shortfall. The South East England Development Agency, (SEEDA), which is a partner in the Thames Gateway and Ebbsfleet Valley projects, blames the cuts on the current economi

A DEVELOPMENT agency is set to axe about 90 jobs because of a £50 million budget shortfall.

The South East England Development Agency, (SEEDA), which is a partner in the Thames Gateway and Ebbsfleet Valley projects, blames the cuts on the current economic crisis.

Last week it was revealed the organisation will be restructured to concentrate on helping ailing businesses get through the recession.

The spokesperson said: "SEEDA must focus and invest time, skills and resources in programmes with a direct and measurable impact on business investment, productivity and innovation, to support businesses now and to prepare for the upturn.

"This will mean doing less in other areas of activity, leading us to become a smaller and more focused organisation."

The government-backed quango is based in Guildford and Chatham, in grounds of the former Royal Navy dockyard.

A spokesperson said any legal commitments to ongoing developments will be honoured.

They added: "The downturn has had a significant impact on SEEDA's financial resources. Funding for Regional Development Agencies has been redirected towards measures to help businesses and homebuyers survive the downturn, and our budgets are reduced further as we will not now earn expected capital receipts from sale of land and properties."

As a result of this they claim to have £50m less than expected to invest in programmes over the next two years.

Speaking about the effect this will have on developments in the area, the spokesperson added: "We now have to make tough choices with our partners. We will not renege on any legal agreements we have entered but we now have to look very closely at all other commitments and work in progress. We are not alone in these difficulties and some of our partners have also had to refocus their priorities."

The agency represents the counties of Kent, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Oxfordshire, Surrey and East and West Sussex.

The exact number of job losses will not be known until April next year.

elizabeth.thornton@archant.co.uk

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