Ministers announced that the Regional Growth Fund will receive a further £1bn at the Government’s National Manufacturing Summit in Bristol today.
The additional funding will be available on the same public/private partnership basis as the original RGF fund, and is designed to stimulate growth and job creation.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg explained the funding decision at the National Manufacturing Summit being held today at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, home to the National Composites Centre and part of the High Value manufacturing Technology Innovation Centre.
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Mr Clegg said that businesses have until June this year to bid for a part in the additional £1bn. Funding promises at least £5 of public investment for every £1 put forward by private enterprise.
The RGF came under fire at the start of 2012 as successful applicants from the first two round revealed that they were yet to receive tangible support. But Mr Clegg is also expected to announce today that 48 of the successful firms from these iterations of RGF funding applications have now completed due diligence and been awarded their part in the fund.
Business Secretary Vince Cable confirmed that one third of RGF projects from rounds one and two of funding are now underway.
Mr 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.
“The fund will provide a much needed boost to regions across the UK where there are plenty of innovative manufacturers who have been challenged by access to finance,” said David Raistrick, UK manufacturing leader at Deloitte. “I am confident we will see a number of companies making applications for the fund. The manufacturing industry has been outgrowing the economy for over a year now and managed to keep growing during the toughest months of the economic crisis. Now the sector is in a position to strengthen its capability, skills, export potential and increase growth across the sector.”
Urging manufacturers to step in and take advantage of the extra money now available, Mr Clegg highlighted the benefits some UK firms have already received through bidding for the funding:
“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.”
Ministers attending the Bristol summit also announced plans for the 2012 ‘See Inside Manufacturing’ campaign, which gets school children into factories to see manufacturing up close, and give updates on the’Make it in Great Britain’ initiative.
Twenty three ‘industry champions’ were confirmed, bringing to 30 the total number of manufacturing leaders tasked with improving the sector’s image. These representatives of the industry will help host a six-week exhibition at the Science Museum in London during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.