10,000 jobs waiting for Regional Growth Fund verdict

MORE than 10,000 jobs could be coming to Teesside if ministers green-light a multi-million pound bid from the region to secure Government cash.

MORE than 10,000 jobs could be coming to Teesside if ministers green-light a multi-million pound bid from the region to secure Government cash.

The second round of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) closed on Friday with £156m worth of applications submitted from Teesside.

More than half the amount (£79.38m) is made up of 26 bids from companies looking to grow their business.

If all of these applications are successful, they will rake in more than £1bn in private investment and create more than 2,500 jobs.

The remaining £76.62m has been earmarked for regeneration schemes designed to benefit the wider economy.

The bids include applications from 13 firms brought together by the Gazette and the Journal in Newcastle as part of our Let’s Grow campaign.

Teesside’s first-round bids were the most successful in the country, with £26m awarded to five schemes.

But the second round of bidding has the potential to have an even greater impact, with Teesside going head to head with other UK regions for a slice of a £950m cash windfall.

The Department of Business will look at the bids over the summer before making a final judgement.

Regeneration body Tees Valley Unlimited, which has been co ordinating the bids, said it had been impressed with the strength of the applications.

Stephen Catchpole of Tees Valley Unlimited

Stephen Catchpole, managing director of TVU, said: “We have really been impressed by the calibre of the bids.

“The fund is very important for our economic growth.

“These bids are a combined effort from all parties involved and it’s heartening to see the public and private sector get round the table and show their support.

“If the bids are successful, the investment will have a positive impact on private sector growth and jobs.

“It will provide a much-needed boost for our local economy and form the platform for greater economic growth and stability.”

TVU will seek out other sources of funding for the projects if they fail to attract money from the RGF.

But Mr Catchpole said the RGF represented “a clear opportunity” to oil the wheels of Teesside’s economic recovery.

“We have no idea what other bids are like from other parts of the country,” he said.

“We have put our best foot forward and now we will have to wait and see how we fare.”

The Government-backed RGF is a new £1.4bn, three-year fund designed to boost activity in the private sector.

Available to companies until 2014, it supports schemes that will generate private sector investment, economic growth and sustainable employment.

Plan has support across region

Rachel Anderson, head of member relations, North East Chamber of Commerce welcomed the RGF bid and said: “The bids submitted demonstrate huge ambition - and bring forward practical, deliverable projects which will create high-quality, sustainable jobs.”

Pauline Osborne, North-east regional chairman, Federation of Small Businesses said: “We hope that these bids can replicate the success achieved in the first round of the RGF allocations helping to strengthen the recovery of the local economy.”

Tony Sarginson, of manufacturing organisation EEF: “The resources and support that would be delivered from these bids can further stimulate manufacturing growth - this growth is so important to the long-term well-being of our economy.”

Jonathan Lamb, director of marketing at Business & Enterprise Group: “This has the potential to be a landmark for business investment in our area. The bid is an ambitious, practical and balanced package of measures designed to ultimately create long-lasting employment.”

Cllr Mark Hannon, Redcar & Cleveland Council’s cabinet member for economic development: “If successful, these bids will represent yet another milestone in continued economic regeneration.”

Cllr Bob Cook, leader of Stockton Council: “It demonstrates our confidence in the area’s economic potential and is testament to the power of partnership that exists here.”

Hartlepool Mayor Stuart Drummond: “If the Government supports our bids, we will see major economic benefits that will create new jobs and opportunities in the supply chain.”

Cllr Bill Dixon, leader of Darlington Council: “This bid sets out a clear case for investment in our existing and emerging industries to help them grow and thrive.”

Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon: “The proposals will help to ensure Middlesbrough and the wider Teesside area competes with city regions across the UK and beyond.”


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