£350m fund open to businesses

Lancashire businesses are being encouraged to bid for funding which will create new jobs after the government launched a new £350m scheme.

A total of £382m has been awarded to businesses across the North West since the Regional Growth Fund was set up in 2011, and the fourth round of funding is now being released.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “The Regional Growth Fund is already proving a shrewd investment by providing a welcome boost to jobs and growth across the country, with thousands of jobs created, businesses expanding into new markets and manufacturing new products. With this next roundof funding, I would urge England’s budding businesses to produce top quality bids to access the money that can help them grow.

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“There’ll be stiff competition, and we can only invest in those projects that will lead to sustainable jobs and the best value for money. Boosting jobs and growth is our number one priority for Britain right now. That is why I am so pleased to be opening a fourth round of the Regional Growth Fund which supports growth across a range of industries.”

Projects from the first three rounds of the Regional Growth Fund have pledged to create or safeguard more than 500,000 jobs along with an injection of £13bn private sector investment into the economy.

Round 4 of the Regional Growth Fund will close to applications on March 20 at noon and bids will be appraised as quickly as possible. Potential applicants should look out for expressions of interest events in their region for support and further help with the application process. The first of these will be in Manchester on January 31 and is open to any organisation interested in bidding. The minimum threshold for Round 4 applications will be £1million. SMEs can get support through successful RGF programmes. For more information on how to apply, visit www.gov.uk/understanding-the-regional-growth-fund