THE NORTH-EAST has bid for more cash from the latest round of the Government's flagship jobs fund than any other region, ministers have revealed.
Round 5 of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) has now closed to bids, with the successful applicants due to be announced by the Deputy Prime Minister in the spring.
The fund, set up by the Coalition to bring jobs and investment into hard hit regions, is again massively oversubscribed.
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A total of £600m has been made available in this and the upcoming round of the RGF, but more than £640m-worth of bids have been sent to Nick Clegg's team in this round alone.
Backed by Tees Valley Unlimited (TVU) and the North East Local Enterprise Partnership, 17 bids worth £97.6m have been submitted by the North-East, which is almost four times the amount requested by Yorkshire and Humber, and double the funding bid made by the South-West.
TVU has supported nine private sector bids worth a combined £42m, which reflect Tees Valley’s diversifying economy across sectors including the car making, advanced engineering, low carbon, healthcare and chemicals industries.
TVU said this would attract a further £470m in private sector investment with the potential to create and safeguard 1,800 jobs.
Stephen Catchpole, managing director at TVU, said: “We have been working closely with companies across Tees Valley to make them aware of the funding that is available and to support their applications to Department of Business Innovation and Skills.
“The projects are exciting and forward-looking and have the ability to help further grow and develop the Tees Valley economy.”
Tees Valley has enjoyed significant RGF success with more than £160m earmarked for the area across the previous four rounds.
To date, 13 private sector projects have started including expansions at Nifco UK, Lotte Chemicals, AV Dawson and Darchem Engineering and planning applications submitted by SNF Oil and Gas and Chemoxy in Middlesbrough.
Smaller companies in the area have also benefitted from the RGF backed Let’s Grow Campaign which supports North-East based projects looking to secure between £50,000 and £1m grants.
15 out of the 48 projects approved in Rounds 1 and 2 are Tees Valley based which equates to more than a third of funding allocated.