Forty bids for cash help totalling £149m have been lodged by North West companies in the sixth round of grants from the Regional Growth Fund, according to government figures.
And, as the latest bidders wait to hear if they have been successful in the next few weeks, the man who set up the initiative, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, has welcomed news that the RGF has already supported 8,000 companies to grow and thrive across England through a series of 400 projects and programmes since it was first introduced in 2010.
“It is great news that the Regional Growth Fund has now reached the landmark of supporting its 8,000th company,” said Mr Clegg. “This innovative fund is helping companies to invest, expand and to create sustainable jobs in the local community. Rebalancing the economy and boosting regional growth has been a top priority for me in Government. It is a key part of building a stronger economy and fairer society.
“The success of the RGF is a shining example of how government can help regional businesses realise their own goals and plan for a prosperous future.”
At present 73 projects are underway in the North West to boost manufacturing and engineering industries and encourage job creation outside of London.
The fund has already created and safeguarded 100,000 jobs and distributed more than £1bn across the country. Projects receiving help include work by Lancaster University and also the North West Aerospace Alliance which is based in Cuerden Way, Preston and represents aerospace companies across the region.
The £3.5bn fund is supplying grants to projects which are also attracting private funding. It is believed the scheme will deliver 573,000 jobs and £16bn of private investment by the mid-2020s.