North West leading £350m Regional Growth Fund applications

The North West is leading applications for funding from the government’s £350 million Regional Growth Fund (RGF) at its fourth round stage.

Out of a total of 309 applications, the highest number of bids were received from the North West region totaling £315m via 58 different applications, followed by the Yorkshire and Humber and South West areas, bidding £239m and £225m respectively.

The total figure for all round four applications stands at £1.8 billion and will be decided by an Independent Advisory Panel chaired by Lord Heseltine, who will then make recommendations to a ministerial panel led by deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who holds the final say.

Mr Clegg said: “It is great to see so many proposals from companies that want money to move ahead and expand.”

“As in previous rounds of the Regional Growth Fund, this is a competitive process and we will be analysing the proposals carefully before selecting the winning bids- ensuring we put money where it counts, to create or safeguard local jobs for the long term.”

GE Oil & Gas’s Newcastle site, Wellstream Flexibles was previously awarded £3 million through the RGF to increase manufacturing capability. Bruce Heppenstall, general manager, said: “The Regional Growth Fund will help GE investment to increase the competitiveness of its Wellstream Flexibles manufacturing facility and meet the growing demands of the global offshore oil & gas industry.”

It is expected the selected bidders will be announced in the summer, with the government pledging to support bids based on which represents the best value for tax payers.