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Clegg unveils £1bn to boost growth

Half a million jobs will be created thanks to the additional £1 billion the Government is to spend supporting private sector growth, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg says.

Chancellor George Osborne announced the extra cash for the Regional Growth Fund in last week's Autumn Statement.

It will now have £2.4 billion to help stimulate business in areas that have been heavily dependent on the public sector, which is facing swingeing cuts and job losses.

With the first £1.4 billion already allocated, Mr Clegg - who is visiting the North West - announced that there would be at least two further rounds of bidding for cash. The next round will open in February.

Mr Clegg said: "This additional billion-pound boost for British businesses means the Regional Growth Fund will create an estimated half a million jobs before the end of this Parliament.

"With this targeted support for companies we're unlocking private sector investment, with at least £5 put in for every £1 of public money.

"The first pots of Regional Growth Fund money are already jump- starting growth and creating jobs across the country - helping to rebalance our economy so that every region and sector benefits."

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