A LEADING boss has today warned hopes of bringing 500 jobs to the region have been dashed.
As well as being told of the Government’s reluctance to take risks over the jobs, MPs on the House of Commons Business Select Committee will also be warned that the Regional Growth Fund has not shown enough support for a range of firms.
David Dunn, chief executive of Sunderland Software City, will say the fund has failed to create jobs because it has not invested in the growing digital and computer technology industry.
His firm wanted to work with five software companies, helping them to expand and create hundreds of jobs.
However, a second-round bid for just over £1million from a fund now worth more than £2.4billion, to be matched alongside £9million of extra cash, proved unsuccessful.
Mr Clegg’s growth fund has predominantly helped manufacturing firms meet the cost of expanding, purchasing new machinery and creating suitable infrastructure.
The bid by Sunderland Software City included help for firms to purchase computer equipment and high-definition storage equipment, along with some office expansion work, but was eventually unsuccessful.
Mr Dunn said: “We would have brought hundreds of jobs, highly-skilled jobs, to the region.
“From a growth fund point of view it was fairly cheap, but it would have done what the Government says it is trying to do, create a knowledge economy of well-paying jobs.
“If we were building a big factory they would get it, but when it comes to new jobs they think it is more risky and they are less keen to back it.
“We work with 1,300 software companies that employ about 9,500 people in the region.
“It is small in regional terms, but it is a growing business that has huge potential with firms that can become internationally successful very quickly.
“There is a huge potential here, but we need the Government to do more than say they want these jobs.”