NICK Clegg has called on Yorkshire businesses to put forward their expansion plans as he arrives in the region to unveil a new £350m round of bidding for the regional growth fund.
The Deputy Prime Minister will travel to Leeds and Huddersfield this morning for a series of events centred on the flagship £2.4bn fund, which offers Government support to private companies needing finance to expand and create new jobs.
Mr Clegg will visit companies that have previously benefited from RGF funding including Surgical Innovations in Leeds, which received more than £5m as part of a project to create a health technologies hub for the city.
Speaking to the Yorkshire Post ahead of his visit, the Sheffield MP said he wanted every company in the region which has a serious plan for expansion to come forward with a bid by March 20.
“We’re sending out an invitation to companies in Yorkshire to come forward as quickly as they can with ‘shovel-ready’ projects,” Mr Clegg said.
“If you’ve got a good idea about how to create jobs locally, and you need a bit of help from the regional growth fund, I’m very keen to hear from you.”
The Yorkshire Post has reported previously how the region has received considerably less money through the RGF than other regions including the North East, North West and West Midlands – despite the fund having been set up specifically to support areas with high unemployment.
Mr Clegg said it was down to local firms to put forward more effective bids this time round.
“This is a competitive process,” he said. “About £240m has been invested in Yorkshire already –that’s about 11 per cent of the total spent so far.
“I think for those people that felt Yorkshire deserved more, the way to do that is by having Yorkshire companies put forward high-quality bids as soon as possible.”
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