Clegg launches £1bn regions fund
Areas set to be worst-hit by the Government's severe public spending squeeze are to share in a £1 billion push to stimulate private investment, Nick Clegg has said.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the Regional Growth Fund - first announced in the Budget last week - would help ensure "no region or community gets left behind".
He set out the scale of the two-year help package as the Cabinet met in Bradford on an away day designed to show the coalition's support for hard-hit economies outside London.
It is in addition to tax breaks being offered to new firms in regions most heavily dependent on public sector employment in an effort to ease the blow of austerity measures.
Private firms, acting alone or with the public sector, will be eligible for the cash if they can show schemes will bring in investment and promote sustainable jobs and growth.
Mr Clegg said: "While we sort out the nation's finances we can also help to foster a thriving and more balanced economy so that no region or community gets left behind.
"The Regional Growth Fund will create the conditions for growth and enterprise in the regions by stimulating investment and create sustainable private sector jobs.
"Alongside our commitment to waive some employment taxes for new businesses starting up in targeted regions of the country, this fund can make a real difference to companies during difficult times."
Prime Minister David Cameron has decided to continue the practice of his Labour predecessor, Gordon Brown, of holding Cabinet meetings in regional centres.
Ministers gathered at Bradford Bulls' Grattan Stadium after a series of visits in Yorkshire related to their areas of responsibility.