£2.4bn fund to boost regional jobs
A Government fund aimed at boosting economic growth in the regions will help create around half a million jobs over the next few years, the Government has said.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the £2.4 billion Regional Growth Fund will be open for two further rounds of bidding from next February.
The fund was launched a year ago and has allocated £1.4 billion to 50 projects in the first round of bidding, with more set to be financed through a second round.
Mr Clegg will say during a visit to the North West that the extra funding announced in last week's Autumn Statement will help the fund create an estimated half a million jobs before the end of the 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 Funding money are already jump starting growth and creating jobs across the country - helping to rebalance our economy so that every region and sector benefits," he said.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "This fund is helping businesses across the country to create jobs - giving them the support they need to turn new ideas into actions that will drive their growth and future success.
"The Regional Growth Fund is already having an impact, with more than 50% of the projects from the first round already up and running. The extra £1 billion we are investing will enable us to build on this success and deliver a shot in the arm to local economies."
Mr Clegg said the focus of the fund will remain on creating jobs, encouraging private investment and supporting areas dependent on the public sector.
Cities will be encouraged to come forward with "innovative" projects in future bidding rounds.