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Clegg launches jobs fund in North-East
BIDDERS that failed to win cash from the government's flagship job creation fund have been urged to submit stronger bids this time around.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is in the region today (Friday) to launch round five of the Regional Growth Fund, which aims to create jobs in hard hit areas.
Competition to secure a share of the £300m cash pot is expected to be fierce with only 1-in-4 applicants set to receive funding pledges.
Durham Tees Valley Airport was among the unsuccessful applicants in the last two rounds of the scheme and bosses at the struggling site are weighing whether to submit a third application.
Earlier this year, ministers snubbed £4.65m plans to create an aircraft recycling, firefighter training and freight services zone on land south of the runway, which the airport said could have supported up to 1,400 jobs.
It was the second time in less than a year the airport's co-owner Peel had failed to secure RGF money.
Asked last night if the airport should try again, Mr Clegg told The Northern Echo: "Each business needs to decide if the reasons they didn't get money last time are reasons they can address or not. If they can then I would say give it a go."
Michael Fallon, Business Minister and former MP for Darlington, said:
“We expect there will be stiff competition, so companies should take time over their application and demonstrate the benefits that support will bring. We want more businesses to benefit so that they can achieve their ambitions.”
This morning, Mr Clegg will visit previous RGF winners Duco Ltd in Newcastle and Gateshead's Responsive Engineering to see how funding is helping them grow.
Mr Clegg, explained: “I am launching this latest round in the North-East as the RGF has been instrumental in helping to create and safeguard thousands of jobs in the region. Unemployment is too stubbornly high in the North-East and this is a great way that we can help address that.
"North-East businesses are leading that charge for a stronger economy. The Regional Growth Fund is a helping hand from the Government, but I pay tribute to the people who are working hard to fuel our recovery.
“Duco and Responsive Engineering are fine examples of how the RGF is helping local companies grow stronger and give hundreds of people from the North-East highly skilled jobs.”
“My message to businesses in every region is clear - if you’ve got a project that needs a boost, bid for cash from the RGF.”
Duco is using its £3.6m award to create 168 jobs and safeguard 191 posts. In addition it plans to expand its reseach and development division and develop a new manufacturing plant which will produce huge steel tube cables used to control and maintain subsea wells from offshore platforms or ships.
Responsive Engineering in Team Valley was awarded £654,000 from the second round of the fund to invest in a new plant and machinery to expand the company’s engineering capability.
Round five will be open to private sector bidders seeking £1m or more. Businesses have until noon on December 9 to submit bids.
The first four rounds of the RGF have:
*Pledged £2.6bn to support 400 projects and programmes.
*Stimulated £14.7bn of private sector investment.
*Created and safeguarded an estimated 66,000 North-East jobs.
*Supported North-East firms including PD Ports, Kromek, Nifco, Cummins and Ebac.
*Been criticised for making slow pay-outs and rejecting 3-in-4 bids.
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