By Marcus Leach
The £1 billion boost to the Regional Growth Fund announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement last week is expected to enable the fund to support around half a million jobs in total.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will visit the North West today (Tuesday) where he will set out further details on the boost to fund, which will now be £2.4billion in total. He will announce that there will be at least two further rounds of bidding, with the next round opening during February 2012.
He will also confirm:
* the focus of the fund will remain on creating jobs, encouraging private investment and supporting areas dependent on the public sector
* cities will be encouraged as part of future bidding rounds to come forward with innovative programmes and packages of projects, building upon successful approaches adopted in previous rounds
* Lord Heseltine and Sir Ian Wrigglesworth will remain as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel.
"This additional billion pound boost for British businesses means the Regional Growth Fund will create an estimated half a million jobs before the end of this parliament," Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said.
"With this targeted support for companies we're unlocking private sector investment, with at least £5 put in for every £1 of public money.
"The first pots of Regional Growth Funding money are already jump starting growth and creating jobs across the country - helping to rebalance our economy so that every region and sector benefits.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said he was pleased to see a variety of companies being helped by the fund.
“This fund is helping businesses across the country to create jobs — giving them the support they need to turn new ideas into actions that will drive their growth and future success," Cable said.
“The Regional Growth Fund is already having an impact, with more than 50 per cent of the projects from the first round already up and running. The extra £1 billion we are investing will enable us to build on this success and deliver a shot in the arm to local economies.”
The Regional Growth Fund was launched in October 2010. So far it has allocated £1.4 billion through two bidding rounds. There were 50 successful projects in the first round sharing £450 million. More than 50 per cent of the projects from the first round are already up and running.
In the second round, 119 bids received conditional allocations of funding, with a further 10 requiring further discussion. Of these 10, seven have funding conditionally allocated to them, increasing the number of bids receiving a share of £950 million to 126, and the total of new and existing jobs supported to 244,000. Of the 244,000 jobs created or protected, around 38,000 will be directly created jobs, and more than 170,000 will be in the supply chain.
The seven additional bids are:
o Avanti Goonhilly Development Programme (Cornwall) —creating a major satellite teleport at Goonhilly and improvements to Avanti’s existing facility to enable the delivery of satellite services to consumers and customers across the world.
o Goonhilly Space Science Park (Cornwall) — a project to transform the former BT Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station on the Lizard peninsular, Cornwall, into a space science park.
o Tees Valley Waste Management Plant (Tees Valley) - Construction of a new Waste Management Plant with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per annum to treat waste streams throughout the Tees Valley. The plant will process waste from both municipal and commercial sources with an aim to reduce the levels of waste diverted to landfill.
o BF Biogas Limited — part of the Earth Energy group (Teesside) - project is to build an anaerobic digestion manufacturing plant in Teesside, in order to process waste streams such as food and garden waste, animal waste, and slurry and convert these into biogas which can be used for power generation.
o Neptune Energy Park (River Tyne) - project to support brownfield remediation and infrastructure development works and factory construction on part of the former Neptune Ship Yard on the River Tyne.
o Newcastle — Central Gateway (Newcastle) — improving access to key development sites in central Newcastle. In particular, it looks to address physical barriers that would unlock development in Newcastle’s Stephenson Quarter.
o The Enterprise Agency Consortium — Let’s Talk Business (North East) Six of the country’s leading enterprise agencies have combined with The National Enterprise Network and Barclays Bank to produce a national business start-up programme, designed by specialists and delivered by social enterprises. They will provide support and assistance in all of the elements required to start up a successful enterprise.
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