The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) reports that £950 million will be available in the fund’s second round. The bank-backed Regional Growth Fund aims to encourage enterprise, growth and jobs in the private sector and support regions that are dependent on the public sector.
The fund’s independent advisory board, chaired by Lord Heseltine, will assess the 492 bids, which have sought a total in £3.3 billion, over the next two months.
The board will then make recommendations to a board of ministers including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that will make the final decision on which proposals will receive funding by autumn. This round’s applicants were up on the 464 businesses that applied for investment in the first round.
According to the BIS, there were 140 bids received this round for the North West, again the highest of all the regions, which account for 28 per cent of all the bids received. More than 330 of the total number of bids received are bidding for between £1 million and £5 million.
Clegg comments, ‘Round one is already helping local economies across the country and has attracted £2.5 billion of private sector investment. This will directly create or protect over 27,000 jobs, and secure around a further 100,000 jobs on related supply chains and in local economies. We welcome the bids received for the second round, and hope we can do even more this time.’
In April, the government announced the 50 successful first round bids from companies and partnerships which will share in more than £450 million of investment in the first round from the Regional Growth Fund.