I’ve decided to start a Regional Growth Fund blog to give my personal take on the Fund and to talk about experiences as we tour the country promoting the Fund.
It only seems like yesterday that we were embarking on the first round of Road Shows, but it’s actually nearly 4 months since we started! I’ve seen a few new places around the UK in that time. We had over 450 applications in the first round and had to make some tough decisions, but I am pleased with the 50 projects which were selected and with the £2.5bn of private investment secured.
The sooner the money is invested the better. It’s our job to support the creation of sustainable private sector jobs asap to provide work for people losing them as a result of public sector cuts.
And the word ‘sustainable’ is important.
We’re not looking for short-term fixes. We’re trying to rebalance the regional economies that are over dependent upon the public sector. Nothing against the public sector. I’ve spent a lot of my time trying to get Government jobs out of London and into the regions. It’s not that the public sector is too big. It’s that the private sector is too small. That’s what we’re directly trying to address.
However, time waits for no man and things continue to move forward apace. Michael Heseltine and I are determined to get the whole investment on the ground as soon as possible so we are going back on the road to encourage people to bid. We will be doing Road Shows in Margate, Dudley, York, Newcastle, Preston, Derby and Plymouth over the next 6 weeks with the first in Margate on the 12th May.
So, get on the RGF website, look at the guidance, register for a roadshow, submit that expression of interest and most importantly get bidding.
I hope to update this blog regularly as we progress round the country on the roadshows.
Image: Growth by SamuelBenoit http://www.flickr.com/photos/sbenoit/488944501/ used under CC license