Press release

Deputy Prime Minister North West jobs boost

Two North West businesses have secured over £172 million of private sector and government investment from the Regional Growth Fund.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


The Deputy Prime Minister will meet staff at Stobart, the haulage firm in Widnes, and Pilkington Glass in St Helens to deliver the good news.

The investment being announced today will help create 3,704 jobs at the two businesses and is thanks to a funding initiative which sees Government and the private sector working together to boost growth in the regional economies.

Overall, 35 bids to the fund from the North West have been provisionally approved. This will create and protect a combined total of 13,000 jobs across the region. It is estimated an additional 41,000 jobs will be created to support the successful businesses’ supply chains.

During today’s visit the Deputy Prime Minister will see for himself how the Regional Growth Fund has helped two of these companies in the North West. He will announce:

  • £139 million of investment in Stobart, which will be used to expand their Widnes site. The funding will be managed by Halton Borough Council. Stobart and their partners Prologis are investing £130 million in addition to the £9 million of Government funding, creating 3,450 direct jobs and 1,276 indirect jobs; and
  • £33 million of investment at Pilkington Glass in St Helens. The company is investing £28 million in addition to the £5 million of Government funding. The funding will be used to introduce a more efficient production technique and produce glass that is more competitive in the European market. 254 direct jobs and 209 indirect jobs will be created as a result.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

Creating long term jobs and long term growth is our number one priority for Britain.

For too long the UK economy has been too focused on the City of London and all too often this has been at the expense of places like Widnes and St Helens in the North West.

I want the North West to be a place where people make things again, where iconic businesses like Stobart and Pilkington can thrive.

The Regional Growth Fund is unlocking private sector investment, with at least £5 put in for every £1 of public money.

The fund is already helping the economy grow in every region and across a range of industries. Today I have also announced an additional billion pound boost for British businesses which means the Regional Growth Fund will create an estimated half a million jobs before the end of this parliament.

During his visit to the region, the Deputy Prime Minister will also announce that an additional £1 billion boost to the Regional Growth Fund is expected to enable the fund to support a total of around half a million jobs across the UK.

The Deputy Prime Minister will confirm that the total national fund will be £2.4 billion and announce there will be at least two further rounds of bidding, with the next round opening in February 2012. 

He will also confirm:

  • the focus of the fund will remain on creating jobs, encouraging private investment and supporting areas dependent on the public sector;
  • there will be an additional focus on bids from the eight core cities -  Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield - which will be encouraged to submit innovative packages of projects; and
  • Lord Heseltine and Sir Ian Wrigglesworth will remain as Chair and Deputy Chair of the Independent Advisory Panel.

The £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund uses public money to fund projects which will create long term jobs, sustainable growth and boost the local economy.

It was launched in October 2010, and so far has allocated £1.4 billion through two bidding rounds. There were 50 successful projects in the first round sharing £450 million and, so far, including the North West projects announced today.  More than 50 per cent of the projects from the first round are already up and running.

Notes to editors

1. Approved bids from the North West approved in rounds one and two of the Regional Growth Fund are:

University of Liverpool
Harpscreen(GB) Ltd
Pirelli Tyres Ltd
Phoenix Court Blackburn Limited
Gilbert Gilkes and Gordon Limited (‘Gilkes’)
Crown Speciality Packaging UK Ltd
Redx Pharma Ltd
Double R Controls Limited
C&C Baseline Ltd
Standish Engineering Ltd
Double R Controls Ltd
North West Aerospace Alliance
Sefton Council
Eldonians Group Limited,
Energy Coast West Cumbria Ltd
The Listen Media Company LTD
The Greater Manchester LEP
Siemens plc
Diodes Zetex Semiconductors Ltd
Ferguson Polycom Limited
Salford City Council
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council (‘TMBC’)
Economic Solutions Ltd
Northern Tissue Group Limited
Pochin Developments Limited.
Keepmoat Homes Ltd
Regenerate Pennine Lancashire Limited
Lucite International UK Ltd
Dairy Crest Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Dairy Crest Group plc)
Bentley Motors
HMG Paints Ltd
Burnley BC
Pilkington United Kingdom Limited
Getrag Ford Transmissions
Tygavax ltd
Holroyd Precision Ltd
Muse Developments
Liverpool Aspire Fund
The Stobart Group/Prologis

2. Councillor Rob Polhill, Halton Borough Council’s leader said:

This is good news for Halton.

Stobart, Prologis and Halton Borough Council have worked hard on this project, which is proving a major boost for the local economy and new jobs for Halton people.

The Regional Growth Fund money means this confidence is shared by the whole region.

3. Stobart Group CEO, Andrew Tinkler, said:

The public-private partnership driving development at 3MG is a win-win all the way, for business, the region, transport infrastructure and of course the creation of thousands of jobs. 

Our Regional Growth Fund application has been up against stiff competition, but our track record of fast turn-around, green energy solutions, prestigious tenants, job creation and successful partnerships has secured further public purse investment in 3MG.

4. Stobart Group Chief Operating Officer, William Stobart, added:

We are looking forward to the completion of phase two, and bringing a new dawn of further jobs and new prosperity to the region.

5. Summary details of the bids received in both rounds are available here.

Published 6 December 2011