£48m windfall will protect North East jobs

A £48m windfall for North East employers will create or safeguard 5,600 jobs in the region, Ministers said today

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, was announcing that bids for cash from eight businesses and two local authorities had received the green light.

The money is part of the latest round of allocations from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF), a Government scheme to help create private sector jobs.

Ministers set up the fund to try to encourage firms to create new jobs, partly to replace those lost in the public sector as a result of spending cuts.

Opposition MPs welcomed the announcement, but said the fund was failing to compensate for the loss of One North East, the former regional development agency which was abolished by the Coalition government.

Across the country, £506m has been distributed. It comes on top of earlier rounds of RGF allocations.

Firms benefiting from the cash in the North East include: Molplex Limited, Newcastle; Thomas Swan & Co. Consett, County Durham; Air Fuel Synthesis Ltd in Darlington and Crane Services (UK) Ltd near Middlesbrough, in a joint project; JDR Cable Systems Limited, Hartlepool; JDR Enterprises Limited, Hartlepool; NET Power Europe, Teesside; and Tinsley Special Products Limited, Stockton.

Funds will also be allocated to Sunderland City Deal Infrastructure Development, run by Sunderland City Council, the Tees Valley Innovation and Skills Growth Hub, run by Stockton Borough Council, and a second Sunderland City Council scheme to support industry.

Details of how the funds are shared between projects have not been published.

Mr Clegg said: “There are more people in work today than ever before – since 2010 we have helped create 1.3 million jobs in the private sector. That’s what the Regional Growth Fund is all about – and I’m extremely proud to have found extra money to invest in projects across the country that have plans for the future and want to recruit local talent that will make their businesses better.”

Hexham MP Guy Opperman welcomed the news. He said: “The Regional Growth Fund is continuing to make a big difference to our regional economy. By boosting small and medium-sized businesses this money is setting the region up for a strong competitive future as well as creating jobs right now.”

But Newcastle North’s Labour MP Catherine McKinnell said: “Any new funding to support regional companies and new jobs is welcome, particularly at a time of such high unemployment in the North East.

“But – as with so many of this Government’s policies – what we actually need to see is delivery on the ground, not just announcements from Ministers.

“The Regional Growth Fund is the Coalition’s flagship policy for growth, but it has been mired in chaos and confusion, with some winning bidders waiting years to receive their money. This is just not good enough with an economy that’s been in stagnation since the Government came to power.”

The Journal is helping create jobs through the Let's Grow scheme, a £30m RGF programme running from February 2013.

:: Click here to find out more about the Let's Grow scheme

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