Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced how the Regional Growth Fund is spending £1bn in a bid to boost economic growth in England.
The Regional Growth Fund is investing in about 130 projects in the parts of the country that need it most.
The government believes that the fund’s latest round of spending will safeguard or create 240,000 jobs.
“In tough economic times the Regional Growth Fund is good value for taxpayers’ money,” Mr Clegg said. ”This £1bn round of the fund is pulling in £6bn of private sector investment.
John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce said:
“I have seen for myself the real difference this makes on the ground – from iconic businesses like Eddie Stobart expanding in Widnes and creating 3,450 jobs in the local area, to the Sunderland car parts factory Unipres, who have used their funding to buy a new 3,000 tonne press, letting them accelerate production and take on an extra 316 people.
“The Regional Growth Fund is working, on track and supporting businesses to create jobs and grow the economy.”
However, many RGF projects have been delayed by bureaucratic hurdles, meaning that they have not yet started to have an impact on the ground.
Steve Radley, director of policy at manufacturers’ organisation EEF, welcomed the announcement, but added: “The delays experienced in previous rounds must be avoided and funding must flow out to business much faster, whilst the longer-term future of the fund must also be clarified.”
And John Longworth added a caveat to his support for the RGF: “We are pleased that the £1bn promised for the third round of the Regional Growth Fund has been allocated to projects that will spur business investment and job creation in the regions. However, pace is critical. Many RGF projects have been delayed by bureaucratic hurdles, meaning that they have not yet started to have an impact on the ground. Some bidders have even withdrawn, meaning that over £100m has been recycled back into the fund.”