Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has today announced that 130 bids have been selected to receive an offer of funding under Round 3 of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
The £2.4bn RGF is a five year programme, running from 2011 to 2015, designed to support projects and programmes in England that have significant potential for economic growth and can create private sector employment. It is targeted at areas and communities that were previously highly dependent on public sector jobs.
Successful bidders under Round 3 will be offered a share of £1.05bn of available funding. They include Perkins Engines, which is part of construction equipment giant Caterpillar, Tata Steel Rail Consultancy and Cementation Skanska.
The government says “lessons have been learned from the previous RGF rounds”, which were criticised for the length of time it took for successful bidders to receive a firm offer. In this round the contracting process will be expected to take no longer than six months from when ministers decide to support the bid to signing the final offer letter.
CBI chief policy director Katja Hall welcomed the changes. “By committing to making final offers and completing due diligence within six months, the government has rightly moved to tackle one of the main criticisms of the fund previously,” she said.