Regional Growth Fund does not offer enough soon enough to Sunderland and the North East, say critics

James Ramsbotham, North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive.
James Ramsbotham, North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive.
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AREAS like Sunderland still desperately need further investment, despite £93million being pledged to the North East from the Regional Growth Fund.

Iain Wright, Labour’s Shadow Business Minister and MP for Hartlepool, said he wants to see the cash arrive quickly.

He said: “I welcome all investment in the North East’s economy which will allow businesses with great potential to expand and grow.

“However, the Regional Growth Fund is only a third of the value of investment provided by the Regional Development Agencies, such as One NorthEast, which have been scrapped by this Government.

“The last round of the Regional Growth Fund showed that the Government prioritised publicity over delivery.

“Nine months after the announcement of the first round, only two companies in the entire country had received any funding.

“I hope for the good of the regional economy that successful businesses receive the money more quickly than the previous round.

“The North East urgently needs a plan for growth and jobs.

“Labour would increase the funding available for regional development and create up to 5,500 jobs for young people in this region.”

James Ramsbotham, North East Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said: “The region has been successful in the first two rounds of RGF funding and if we are to rebalance the UK economy then the North East requires more investment of this kind into our innovative and pioneering business.

Tony Sarginson, of the manufacturers organisation EEF, which represents the a number of North East firms, said: “Given the weak state of our economy, the immediate priority must be to ensure the funding promised flows through directly to the projects concerned as a matter of urgency.”