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North-East is winner in Regional Growth Fund bids
THE North-East emerged a winner from the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) round three allocations after it was revealed it had done the best out of the fund per capita.
Total funding for the North- East totted up to £120m, the second highest figure allocated to any region in the UK, with 29 projects benefiting from the fund – the most in any area.
It is hoped the money will create or safeguard 30,000 jobs and attract £878m of private investment to the region.
The only region allocated more money than the North- East was the West Midlands, which was given a total of £124m, but has more than twice the North-East’s 2.6m population.
Redcar was one of the key beneficiaries of round three, with four projects approved, making it one of the UK’s most successful areas for RGF round three bids.
Peterlee also did well, with three projects allocated money.
More than half the total funding goes to the Tees Valley, with the 11 successful projects and two successful programme bids from local enterprise partnership (LEP) Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU), set to leverage in about £500m of private sector investment.
Stephen Catchpole, TVU managing director, said: “The successful projects will see the continued advancement of the chemical, renewable, advanced manufacturing and logistics industries demonstrating an appreciation of the skill and potential here on our doorstep.
“Two programme bids will give small and medium-sized companies the chance to benefit from RGF, further facilitating growth across the supply chain and into global markets.”
Further north, 14 projects and a programme bid by local enterprise partnership North East LEP (NELEP) were secured, potentially creating thousands of jobs and attracting millions of pounds of match funding from private companies.
Paul Woolston, chairman of NELEP, said: “The breadth of innovative projects across many sectors which have won RGF Round three funding will inject new momentum into the region’s economy. They will create many thousands of new jobs and boost productivity and investment in the North-East.”
Ross Smith, director of policy for the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “The number of projects being approved represents a clear demonstration that we have the quality businesses required to draw down this kind of high-value investment.
“What we now require is clarity from the Government over the future direction of RGF and other measures to support businesses investment in the North-East.”
Ian Swales, MP for Redcar said: ‘’Yet again, we have seen a commitment from the Government to our area. They recognise that the economy needs rebalancing and we are beginning to see this having a real impact.
“Today’s announcement continues the drive towards investment in manufacturing and continuing to build up our area ensuring there will be a future for generations to come.
Once again the North-East has done extremely well and has more projects than any other region in the country.
“It shows the importance that the Government places on reversing the decline in our area over the past ten years.’’ Easington MP Grahame Morris, whose constituency includes Peterlee, said: “Given that we have unemployment levels which are above both the national and the regional average, it is pleasing to see that firms in my constituency have received support.
“If this helps to create jobs then it is very welcome, but I want to see the Government do more to help tackle the challenges we face.”