£450m jobs boost pledge for regions
The Government has pledged to create or safeguard 100,000 jobs under plans to invest £450 million in businesses across England.
Under the first round of the Regional Growth Fund, 50 bids by companies and partnerships to promote economic growth and create new jobs will be given financial support.
Ministers said 27,000 jobs will be directly created or safeguarded, with tens of thousands of others supported in associated supply chains.
The rest of the Government's £1 billion fund will be allocated later following a second round of bids, which opens on Tuesday.
Schemes supported include expansion of a Haribo sweet factory near Wakefield, development of a former eye hospital in Manchester into a biomedical centre, building of the next generation of Vivaro vans in Luton and construction of a manufacturing plant in Teesside.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "I was bowled over by the quality of the bids. This money will now help create and safeguard jobs in some of the communities worst hit by the economic downturn.
"Today is a step towards rebalancing our economy away from an unhealthy over-reliance on a small number of industries and a few areas. We need to spread opportunity across the whole country, drawing on our many talents. I know that with the right support these businesses can work with their communities and together play their part in leading the country back into prosperity."
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Supporting job creation in the regions is vital if we are to drive growth in our local communities. We have received a large number of ambitious and highly competitive bids to this first round of the Regional Growth Fund, which will help a number of businesses across the country to expand and create thousands of new jobs.
"The Regional Growth Fund is a competitive fund and we wanted to see proposals that created jobs in the private sector, in areas of deprivation and that is at risk of suffering from public sector cuts. I'm confident that the successful bids we have chosen will deliver on this."
The Government expects the £450 million to lever in around £2.5 billion of private sector investment.