THE government has urged firms in the North-East to apply for a share of £350m as the deadline for Round 4 of the Regional Growth Fund looms.

In previous rounds firms such as Nifco, Nissan and SSI have been pledged money from the fund which aims to create jobs in areas hit by Government spending cuts. Durham Tees Valley Airport is among the businesses that will submit bids this time around.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “Up and down the country, the Regional Growth Fund is investing in companies that can create jobs and attract substantial match-funding from the private sector. For every pound of government money, the private sector is putting in six pounds.

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“This is £350m up for grabs for companies and projects in every region of England to grow. I want more businesses in the region to win money, lever private sector investment and achieve their ambitions.”

Business Minister Michael Fallon said: “I've visited companies of all sizes across the country that are producing more, exporting more or hiring more skilled workers thanks to the Regional Growth Fund. The Fund now has very strong momentum and I do not want other firms to miss out on this huge opportunity."

John Walker, National Chairman, Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This is a good initiative which I would encourage small firms to look at to see if they can benefit from it. We have heard some good stories from small businesses that have won funding. With only a month to go, we really hope that small firms see this is available and the value of applying for a grant.”

Round 4 of the fund will close to applications on March 20 at noon and the winners and losers are expected to be announced in June.  

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