£1 billion growth fund boost open for business

Published on Thursday, 23 February 2012 09:18
Posted by Scott Buckler

From today an extra £1 billion is available to businesses seeking support to help them create new jobs and grow, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will announce

The funding is part of the Regional Growth Fund and takes the total fund to £2.4 billion. It will be available to businesses and public / private partnerships with ambitions to create new jobs and make a significant impact on their local economy.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will make the announcement at the Government’s National Manufacturing Summit being held at the Bristol & Bath Science Park.

He is also set to confirm that 48 of the successful firms from the first two rounds of the fund have completed their legal checks and have access to the Government fund which leverages private sector investment, with at least £5 put in for every £1 of public money.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

The Regional Growth Fund is already having a huge impact across the UK. So far there have been over 170 successful bids to the fund, leveraging around £7.5 billion of private sector investment and set to create and protect 330,000 jobs. I want to see more businesses that are confident they can create jobs and get Britain building and making things again, coming forward – making sure their hats are in the ring.

“Funding from rounds one and two has gone to some extraordinarily promising manufacturing projects. From Pirelli Tyres in Carlisle who’ll use the money to develop a new range of carbon-cutting tyres; to a Portsmouth based company which hopes to use theirs to create a cutting edge boat building college.

“These are the kinds of projects that will lead their communities into brighter times, helping put industry at the heart of the UK’s economy. Businesses have until June to apply for a share of this extra £1 billion.”

Ahead of the summit, the Deputy Prime Minister will be joined by Business Secretary Vince Cable at GKN Aerospace, Bristol to open the company’s new £150 million advanced composites manufacturing centre, where the 27 metre long Airbus A350 wing is being made. When operating at full production, the facility will provide employment for 250 people.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“The Regional Growth Fund is starting to make excellent progress. Already 48 firms have started to access their funding, and around a third have started their projects as they go through legal checks. This means jobs are being created, money is being invested and the fund is making a difference.

“But we cannot be complacent. The additional £1 billion in the fund will help us maintain momentum around supporting even more businesses and encouraging the creation of new jobs.

“Many of the successful projects from rounds one and two were manufacturers and the sector remains one of our national success stories. Manufacturing lies right at the heart of the Government’s strategy for economic recovery and growth.”

Since the last update a further 20 projects have now signed their contracts. These include DTR VMS in Chippenham, Wiltshire and a number of firms in the Let’s Grow Campaign, run by The Journal in Newcastle and Middlesbrough.

Many of the 176 successful bidders from rounds one and two, which are currently going through their legal checks, have already started their projects, with around a third of the companies reporting that activity is underway.

It was also announced at the Summit that ‘See Inside Manufacturing’, a pilot initiative introduced last year to give young people the opportunity to go behind the scenes of some of the UK’s world-class automotive facilities to learn about modern manufacturing, will return again this June. This time it will be extended to three new sectors – aerospace, defence, and food and drink.

The Government’s Make it in Great Britain campaign received an added boost at the Summit with the announcement of 23 new ‘Industry Champions’, bringing the total to 30. The Champions – who are leaders in their field across a variety of sectors within manufacturing – have signed up to lend their support to the campaign, which culminates in a six week exhibition at the Science Museum this summer during the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“Worth approximately £130bn a year and employing 2.5m people, the manufacturing industry’s contribution to our economy cannot be understated.

“The Government remains committed to manufacturing, which is why we have placed it at the heart of our Growth Programme. Equally so, showcasing manufacturing as a worthwhile career choice for young people in modern Britain is another goal of Government, which Make it in Great Britain and See Inside Manufacturing are helping to lead for the long term prosperity of the industry.”

Vince Cable also announced that Sir Richard Lapthorne, Chairman of Cable and Wireless Communications plc, has been appointed as Chair of the Lead Expert Group for the Foresight Future of Manufacturing Project, a two-year project investigating the long term future of manufacturing.

The Manufacturing Summit brought together Government and key industry leaders to discuss and debate progress, the upcoming challenges and next steps for the sector as the Government continues to put manufacturing at the heart of its Growth Programme.

Bonnie Dean, chief executive of the Bristol and Bath Science Park, said:

"As a Science City, Bristol has been recognised for the quality and diversity of its science and research base. Today's national conference also showcases another dimension of the region's strengths by focusing on the South West's businesses who have taken the considerable commercial risk to turn original research into sophisticated manufactured products sold nationally and exported internationally."


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