The Government will pump an extra £1 billion into its Regional Growth Fund which aims to support businesses by boosting employment and economic growth, it has announced.
The new funding takes the Regional Growth Fund total to £2.4 billion, after an additional £1 billion was added last year, and will be available to businesses and public-private partnerships keen to create new jobs and make a significant impact on their local economy.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg confirmed that 48 of the successful firms from the first two rounds of fund bidding now have access to the fund. The Government leverages private sector investment with at least £5 put in for every £1 of public money.
Nick Clegg said: "The 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."
Making the announcement at the National Manufacturing Summit, both Clegg and business Minister Mark Prisk highlighted that the manufacturing industry sits at the heart of the Government's strategy for economic recovery and growth. Many of the successful bidders from the first rounds of funding came from the manufacturing sector.
Commenting on the announcement, Dr Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), welcomed the additional funding saying it will improve local conditions and 'clear the way for more private investment to follow.'
He added: "We are encouraged that ministers have committed to addressing some of the criticism that arose during previous bidding rounds, such as the complexity of the application process itself. We will watch carefully to ensure that strong applications do not get caught up in red tape or unnecessary delays."
Businesses have until the 13 June to bid for the new round of funding.