Regional Growth Fund dishes out third round

The Regional Growth Fund has selected 130 projects for its third round of funding, worth £1 billion.

It is hoped that the fund, which uses public money to leverage private sector investment, will create or safeguard thousands of jobs over the long term.

This time around projects selected include those from Aston Martin, Jaguar Land rover and Unilever. Bidders will be putting in a total of £6 billion of their own cash for the projects that are expected to safeguard more than 240,000 jobs over the long term.

The fund is particularly helping areas and communities currently dependent on the public sector. Commenting on the latest round, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said:

"This £1 billion boost for growth in towns and cities across England is creating jobs that will last in the parts of the country that need it most.

"In tough economic times the Regional Growth Fund is good value for taxpayers' money - this £1 billion round of the fund is pulling in £6 billion of private sector investment.

"I have seen for myself the real difference this makes on the ground - from iconic businesses like Eddie Stobart expanding in Widnes and creating 3,450 jobs in the local area, to the Sunderland car parts factory, Unipres who have used their funding to buy a new 3,000 tonne press, letting them accelerate production and take on an extra 316 people.

"The Regional Growth Fund is working, on track and supporting businesses to create jobs and grow the economy."

Previous rounds of the Regional Growth Fund have been criticised for the speed at which the funding is received. This time around the Government says that 'lessons have been learned' and the contracting process is expected to take no longer than six months.