Region misses out with funding bids

SUFFOLK and Norfolk has missed out in the first round of cash injections under the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) initiative.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and former Cabinet minister Lord Heseltine, who now chairs the panel which oversees the �1billion fund, today announced �450million-worth of support for 50 projects designed to create or safeguard 100,000 jobs around England.

But there was no money for any of the schemes put forward in Suffolk or Norfolk, although in Essex Chelmsford-based company e2v was successful with a bid designed to support 427 jobs directly and an estimated 261 more indirectly.

Andy Wood, chief executive of Adnams and joint chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, which covers Suffolk and Norfolk, expressed disappointment at the region missing out on funding but said it would not get in the way of future successful economic development for the region.

“While it is of course disappointing for the excellent bids to have not been successful this is only the beginning of the hard work to bring future investment into New Anglia,” said Mr Wood.

“The Government Minister Mark Prisk commented this week how impressed he was with the quality of the bids and there will be new opportunities on the horizon.”

New Anglia LEP had endorsed seven proposals for RGF funding, totalling �42million and including bids for a West Suffolk Business Park, improved port access in Lowestoft and an expansion of facilities at Norfolk car company Lotus.

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A second round of RGF funding opened yesterday, with a deadline for bids of noon on Friday, July 1. A third, smaller, round of bidding may also follow if funds remain unallocated after round two.

“We are inviting businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk to contact us as soon as possible with ideas for applications for Round 2 of the Regional Growth Fund – ideas which will lead to business growth and new jobs, which we can consider supporting,” added Mr Wood.

“The partnership itself is also considering submitting a programme bid to support business growth in Norfolk and Suffolk.

“Norfolk and Suffolk are home to some of the most appealing tourist destinations in the UK. We are home to the energy coast and our technology and engineering centres put us alongside anywhere else in the country.

“We know that future investment in our two counties will bring more jobs and a stable economic future.”

For details on round two of RGF bidding, visit the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills website at www.bis.gsi.gov.uk/rgf .