By Max Clarke

During a regional tour to the North West today, the Prime Minister and Lord Heseltine announced plans to boost growth in all regions of the country.

Meeting members of the Liverpool City Region Shadow Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the Prime Minister announced he was commissioning Tesco Chief Executive Sir Terry Leahy, a member of the Shadow LEP, Lord Heseltine and other Shadow Board members to produce a regional economic plan that will stimulate growth in Liverpool.

A national LEP summit on growth and competitiveness in the Spring will bring together LEP Chairs from across the country to prioritise action to stimulate growth at a regional level. This will be supported by additional money, to help LEPs understand the real issues facing local businesses, from a LEP Capacity Fund.

During the visit to the North West, the Prime Minister and Lord Heseltine visited Wirral Waters a site of economic redevelopment and attended a Regional Growth Fund roadshow, part of a series across the country to encourage local businesses and entrepreneurs to bid for money from the Government’s flagship £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:

“In the next few years people all over our country — North, South, East, West — are going to see real change in the way local economies work.

“New Local Enterprise Partnerships — coalitions of business, councils and communities like the one I saw in the Wirral this morning, are already working with business leaders like Terry Leahy to get big local projects off the ground to boost regional growth.

“This is a step change in the way regional growth is driven. And part of that step change is the Regional Growth Fund. We are saying to people — if you’ve got an idea to bring investment and wealth to your area, the £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund is there to help make those good ideas happen.”

Lord Heseltine is undertaking a number of regional roadshows which provide advice on how potential applicants for the Fund can participate in the bidding process and to encourage them to come forward with high-quality proposals that promise to create economic growth and sustainable jobs and help communities to flourish.

Lord Heseltine said:

“I’m delighted to be here in the North West as an advocate for this important Fund.

“The Regional Growth Fund presents an opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs to help shape their own economic future. I hope today’s roadshow will inspire local people to think strategically about their area’s priorities and I encourage them to come forward with compelling funding proposals that promise to deliver a positive change to the local economy; bringing new jobs and benefits to local people.”

The Regional Growth Fund will operate over three years. The first of at least three bidding rounds is now open and the deadline for proposals is 21 January 2011. Further bidding rounds will be announced in early 2011.