North East secures £21.9m in sixth round of RGF funding

Siro (UK), Procter & Gamble and Bristol Laboratories among those in the North East to benefit from investment

The former Reckitt Benckiser plant in Peterlee
The former Reckitt Benckiser plant in Peterlee

Four North East firms are to benefit from a total of £21.9m of Regional Growth Fund money, allocated to the region in the sixth round of the scheme.

Back in June 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg invited North East businesses to bid for a share of a national pot worth £200m in the latest stage of the initiative, focused on projects and programmes that show potential for boosting economic growth,

Yesterday, he announced that conditional offers had been to Siro (UK) in Cramlington, Procter & Gamble Technical Centres Ltd in North Tyneside, Bristol Laboratories Limited in County Durham and a fourth company, the name of which has not been released for commercial reasons.

Since the fund was launched in 2010, a total of £320m has already been invested in 94 projects across the region, creating or safeguarding around 84,000 jobs and attracting roughly £2.1bn of further investment from the private sector.

For Bristol Laboratories, a southern pharmaceutical firm which last year acquired a Peterlee plant once owned by household cleaner maker Recknitt Benckiser, the funding boost will go some way in helping with ambitious growth plans.

Yunus Shafi, head of finance at the business, which makes products such as Paracetamol and Amoxicillin, said: “We are developing a manufacturing site at Peterlee. That will create in excess of 300 jobs, helping boost the local economy. It will be a fully fledged state-of-the-art manufacturing base and we have a huge investment plan in place.”

Round six of the RGF was open to private sector bidders seeking £1m or more, with firms being encouraged to draw up plans for high quality projects that will generate significant investment and sustainable jobs.

Companies in the North East that have already had support from the initiative include Nissan, which received £9.3m, and Hydram Engineering Ltd, a Sedgefield-based supplier of sheet metal components, assemblies and fabrications, which secured a grant worth £477,708.

For every £1 the Government has invested through the fund so far, the private sector has contributed £5.50, meaning the total investment is expected to attract £16bn of private sector support across the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the RGF had allowed regional businesses to be more ambitious than ever before and had gone a long way towards strengthening the economy.

He added: “A stronger economy means providing equal opportunity for everyone across the UK, rather than solely relying on the city of London to bolster UK business.

“The success of the RGF is proof that putting money in the hands of local businesses helps them flourish, and creates opportunities for more people to work locally.”

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