By Daniel Hunter

Selected projects and programmes for the fourth round of the government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) will be announced today (Thursday) by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.

The Deputy Prime Minister announced that 102 companies and projects that applied for funding have been successful, following the most competitive round of the Fund so far.

The companies will take a share of a £506 million pot of funding to attract significant private sector investment and create thousands of jobs across the country.

The half a billion pounds of investment will help to rebalance the economy by supporting these 102 different projects and programmes from all sectors, small businesses and local partnerships across England. This will help them to expand their operations, create new jobs and stimulate private sector growth — the government’s top priority.

Visiting Toyota in Derbyshire — one of the companies that will receive a share of the money, the Deputy Prime Minister 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.

“The Regional Growth Fund is exactly what this country needs to go for growth - from family-run Cartwright Group in Manchester who are now expanding to create 300 jobs and train up to 30 apprentices every year for the next three years, to Toyota, who will use the money they receive from this round to upgrade their hybrid car and keep their highly skilled workforce, take on hundreds of new staff, train apprentices, and produce world-class products.”

The different projects and programmes from this round will leverage £2.8 billion of additional private sector investment and create or safeguard 77,000 jobs. When added to the success of the first three rounds this represents a total of £15 billion private sector investment.

Earlier in the week the Business Secretary, Vince Cable visited Rofin-Sinar, a laser technology company in Hull to announce £2.4 million in RGF funding for a total of 14 companies through the Humber Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) programme. The different projects will create nearly 200 jobs and help secure a further £10 million of private sector investment.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “In tough economic times we need successful schemes such as the Regional Growth Fund which has been vital in stimulating private investment that would otherwise not have gone ahead. We have already helped over 2,600 SMEs through RGF programmes and recently announced a further £600 million RGF funding to be available from 2015 so that we can continue to support British business and manufacturing.

“We are laying the right foundations for stability and good solid business growth as well as supporting sectors prioritised in the government’s industrial strategy — from automotive to oil and gas. Companies and their local economies are seeing the benefits of the Regional Growth Fund, creating jobs for the long term.”

Roger Salomone, Head of Business Environment at EEF said: “The Regional Growth Fund has played a vital role unlocking a significant amount of private sector investment around the country, supporting businesses and promoting growth. The latest wave of investment is testament to the fund’s continued importance and the government’s commitment to extend it to 2017 is particularly welcome.

“With significant new funding for organisations such as Local Enterprise Partnerships coming on-stream, we would like to see future regional growth funds focus on supporting business-led projects."

Business Minister Michael Fallon, who will visit Cab Automotive in the West Midlands to announce their Round 3 award today (Thursday) said: “The quality of applications was very high which is why we increased the pot to over £506 million to accommodate even more projects and programmes which will bring sustainable private sector growth and jobs across the country.

“My focus has always been on delivery and the deadlines I introduced have helped speed up the awards process so that companies have more certainty to invest, hire and grow. We will now work with chosen bidders to quickly agree the terms of their offers and complete due diligence checks."

The government has also today published the first RGF Annual Monitoring Report (AMR), detailing the progress of RGF Rounds 1 and 2 up to March 2013. The report shows that for the first two rounds of the RGF:

- Job creation is on target, with 32,000 jobs created or safeguarded against the 31,500 companies committed to create by March 2013.

- £1.2 billion has been invested by the private sector — estimates show that this will create or safeguard a further 26,600 jobs in the wider economy.

- Together this represents 58,600 jobs that have been created or safeguarded so far. For Rounds 1 and 2 this is 20% of the way towards the overall job commitment made by RGF projects and programmes over their ten year lifetimes.

The Regional Growth Fund supports the government’s industrial strategy and key sectors including automotive, aerospace, energy and life sciences. Tomorrow (Friday) the government and the automotive industry will set out a new industrial strategy to foster the next phase of growth in the sector.

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