By Daniel Hunter

Business Secretary Vince Cable today (Thursday) congratulated a local business and a Government partnership in Lancashire for securing more than £9 million from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.

Lucite International which designs, develops and manufactures acrylic-based products was awarded £2.2 million in round two of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The project, to install a fourth production line facility at the company’s Darwen plant, will protect and create a total of over 190 jobs with an additional 60 jobs created in the wider supply chain.

As part of his tour, Vince Cable also visited engineering firm WEC Group, which has benefitted from Regenerate Pennine Lancashire support — a local government partnership providing business support and access to local grants.

Regenerate Pennine Lancashire have been awarded £7.5 million from the Regional Growth Fund in round two to help manufacturing enterprises in Lancashire. The funding is expected to create 3000 jobs in the Lancashire supply chain and help firms to bring forward investment for expansion projects.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“The Regional Growth Fund is doing a great job of supporting business and boosting British manufacturing — particularly in the North West. It was a pleasure to meet staff at Lucite International and see the construction of their new production line. I am confident that their new facilities will help them expand their UK production and create more jobs for the area — key objectives of the Regional Growth Fund.

“My visit to WEC Group shows the role that Government partnerships can play in helping manufacturing and local enterprise. Regenerate Pennine Lancashire clearly have the right knowledge and expertise to pick those firms that, with a bit of help, can attract private investment and unlock growth for the future. I look forward to seeing what other projects will benefit from their RGF award.

“The work of WEC Group also highlights the value of a skilled workforce including local apprentices. As they have shown, British manufacturing and quality engineering has a big role to play in domestic and international markets. I wish them every success for the future.”

Lucite International Materials EAME General Manager, Rowena Sellens said:

“This investment reflects Lucite International's commitment to world class competitive manufacturing in our Darwen factory, which will ensure we maintain our leading European market position. The RGF grant award was a critical factor in securing the investment.”

Regenerate Pennine Lancashire Chairman, Dennis Mendoros said:

"The Regional Growth Fund will enable us to help high-growth businesses like the WEC Group expand. This will allow our businesses to compete on a national and international basis, helping to create new jobs and opportunities for people as a result."

WEC Group Director, Wayne Wild said:

“It is great news to hear that local companies will have the opportunity to benefit from the Regional Growth Fund. The WEC Group applied for similar funding a few years ago and we haven’t looked back since! The £142,000 grant we secured helped us invest in much needed extra capacity which has allowed us to create 40 new jobs in our Laser division and grow the business by over 30 per cent year on year. Investment is what guarantees sustainability for manufacturing companies, and any initiative aiming at boosting British Manufacturing should be praised.”

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