Another billion on offer for firms to create jobs

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An extra £1 billion is being made available to businesses seeking support to create new jobs, as the Government pushes forward with efforts to kick-start Britain’s stalled economy.

The latest round of Regional Growth Funding announced yesterday means a total of £2.4 billion has now been set aside to help firms expand during the difficult economic climate.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said there have been over 170 successful bids to the fund so far, leveraging around £7.5 billion of private sector investment.

“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,” the Sheffield MP said.

The announcement of extra support was welcomed across Yorkshire. Neil Mclean, chairman of the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said the local economy has “already benefited from significant RGF funding” and offered help to those businesses wishing to put forward funding bids to Whitehall.

Firms have until June to apply for a share of the latest funding.

There has been criticism of the speed at which funds have been distributed so far, however, and Labour claimed last night the growth fund had “created more losers than winners”.

Gordon Marsden, shadow Minister for regional growth, said: “The Regional Growth Fund remains mired in continuing chaos and incompetence, with over 40 per cent of winning first round bidders still waiting for their cash.

“Before boasting about new rounds of the Growth Fund, the Government needs to get a grip and sort out the delays which have plagued this progress.”

But business leaders said they were encouraged by progress made over recent months.

Adam Marshall at the British Chambers of Commerce, welcomed the news, adding: “We will watch carefully to ensure strong applications do not get caught up in red tape or unnecessary delays.”

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