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Spending watchdog slams Regional Growth Fund

Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge said it was “scandalous” so few projects have benefitted from the £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.

A report published by the committee today says that only £470M of the £1.4bn Regional Growth Fund had been allocated but that just £60M had reached front line projects. The remaining funds are “parked” with “intermediary bodies”.  As a result just 5,700 jobs have been created or protected against a target of 36,000.

“Given the dire state of the economy, it is nothing short of scandalous that so few projects funded by the Regional Growth Fund have actually got off the ground,” said Public Accounts Committee chair Margaret Hodge.

The government set up the Regional Growth Fund in 2010 to support private sector jobs after axing the Regional Development Agencies. The Department for Communities and Local Government and Department for Business, Innovation and Skills take responsibility for the scheme.

“It is unacceptable that the departments involved, despite decades of experience with similar programmes, still do not know how they will evaluate the success or otherwise of the fund in producing jobs and growth,” added Hodge. “We want to know in detail by the end of the year how they intend to do so.”

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