Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has announced a sixth round of the Regional Growth Fund, giving North East firms the chance to bid for a share of a national pot worth £200m.
The Government is currently investing £310m from the first five rounds of its flagship job creation cash pot at a local level, giving backing to 98 projects and programmes across the region which will create and safeguard thousands of jobs, while also stimulating £1.5bn of private sector investment.
Back in April the North East was handed £57m of RGF cash – and among the 11 regional projects set to be handed funds was a £30m Let’s Grow bid by The Journal, business services group BE Group and accountants UNW.
It was the second time the Let’s Grow fund had been handed that amount, having been able to demonstrate how the £25m awarded so far, to more than 60 businesses, had created or safeguarded 3,000 jobs.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The Regional Growth Fund is a helping hand from Government to create thousands of jobs that last, boost the private sector and rebalance the economy.
“I’ve seen first hand at Nissan in Sunderland how the fund is supporting businesses that are working hard to fuel our recovery and help us build a stronger economy.
“I would encourage any businesses that can generate significant private sector investment and sustainable jobs to bid for a share of the £200 million available from the fund.”
Round six will be open to private sector bidders seeking £1m or more and firms are encouraged to draw up plans for high quality projects that will generate significant private sector investment and sustainable jobs.
Businesses will be able to submit their bids until noon on 30 September, 2014.
Companies in the North East that have already had support from the RGF include Nissan, which received £9.3, and Hydram Engineering Ltd, a Sedgefield-based leading supplier of sheet metal components, assemblies and fabrications, that put its £477,708 grant towards a new plant and machinery.
The firm, whose clients include Bosch, JCB and Mitsubishi Electric, has created and safeguarded 47 jobs and plans for further expansion are on the horizon.
Hydram’s managing director David Greatorex said: “The RGF investment has resulted in far greater benefits than the company originally envisaged.
“This latest round of investment would not have been possible without the support of the Regional Growth Fund.
“This support has allowed the business to take full advantage of current opportunities for growth within our sector.”
To help bidders on their applications, road shows and expression of interest days will be held throughout the country from today to provide advice on how to make a successful bid. On July 11 an event will be held at the newly-opened Future Technology Centre in Sunderland.
Business Secretary Vince Cable added: “The Regional Growth Fund is a fundamental part of our efforts to boost manufacturing and rebalance the economy, helping to create new jobs in the North East.
“Round six is now open for applications and I urge businesses to see how it can help them to increase their workforce or expand to new markets.”