Successful RGF bids could unlock £300m for Black Country firms

MORE than £300m of investment will be made in the Black Country if bids to the next round of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund are successful.

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership has predicted that up to 5,500 private sector jobs could be directly and indirectly created if the 16 bids are accepted.

The bids have been made by companies from a range of sectors including the automotive, advanced manufacturing and environmental technologies.

The Black Country LEP has formed a joint programme bid which could benefit around 40 more companies from the region. Had this not been implemented then the bids by these firms would not have met the criteria for the government funding stream as it requires minimum applications of £1m.

In total, the Black Country funding applications are believed to be in excess of £70m, with well over £300m of additional private sector investment committed if the bids are successful.

Paul Brown, the Black Country LEP’s private sector lead on access to finance, said: “The LEP has worked closely with a number of private sector bids to maximise their chance of success and we are confident that all our bids are strong and meet the criteria. If successful we will be welcoming well over £300m of investment into the Black Country.”

Cllr David Sparks, LEP board member and leader of Dudley Council, said he was pleased so many applications had been submitted.

“We are hopeful they will be successful and help create thousands of jobs for local people. Around 40 businesses from the region are involved in these bids which would safeguard around 3,500 existing jobs and create around 5,500 new jobs,” he said.

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership worked with partners including the four Black Country local authorities, Manufacturing Advisory Service and Black Country Chamber of Commerce to co-ordinate the bids and provide support and advice to applicants.

A decision on the successful bids is expected from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills in the autumn. Successful bids will then undergo due diligence tests before the money is released.