Businesses of all shapes and sizes can now bid for a share of £30 million to boost growth, and build on the Humber’s position as the UK’s energy estuary, Business Minister Michael Fallon announced today.
The launch of the Humber local enterprise partnership’s (LEP) scheme came as part of the Minister’s tour of the Yorkshire and Humber region. The tour included a speech at the Sheffield City Region Conference for Growth in Doncaster and a visit to Moulded Fibre Products – a manufacturing company in Scunthorpe which has benefited from Regional Growth Fund investment.
The Humber LEP scheme – which is expected to create up to 3,000 jobs and at least £125 million investment from the private sector – opens after an application by the Humber LEP and North East Lincolnshire Council was approved by the government’s Regional Growth Fund from Round 3.
Speaking at the launch event in Scunthorpe, Business Minister Michael Fallon said:
Today’s launch is great news for the area and a significant route for small businesses to access vital funding. I have no doubt that the £30 million fund from Humber LEP will select the firms and industries of the future so that the Humber can continue to build its economic presence within the renewable energy industry.
The Regional Growth Fund is more than just big industry and household names. It is also building the necessary relationships to support SMEs through difficult times so that they are able to grow and invest in skills at a sustainable pace. I would encourage local businesses to find out more and apply.
The first strand of the programme is £10 million to support growth of the offshore wind and renewable energy supply chain on the South Bank of the Humber. In particular it will support the development of key infrastructure, new investment, skills and research within Grimsby and the wider Humber region in offshore wind turbine assembly and manufacturing.
The second strand of the programme is £20 million available for businesses to exploit expansion opportunities across the Humber area. The Humber LEP will work with local partners to give businesses support to invest, hire and grow by making grants available for skills, research and development, new machinery and improvements to manufacturing.
Lord Haskins, Chair of the Humber LEP said:
This is a huge boost to businesses in the Humber and I urge people to come and talk to us to make a quick assessment as to whether this is the right fund for them to help unlock their growth plans. We can help businesses present their projects in a way that will maximise their chances of gaining funding and ultimately lead to creating jobs here.
The LEP’s securing of this significant Regional Growth Fund grant is a reminder of what can be achieved when businesses and local authorities come together across the Humber.
Following the launch of the Humber LEP programme, the Minister went on to visit Moulded Fibre Products – a recycled pulp products and garden furniture manufacturer – which will receive just over £590,000 from North Lincolnshire’s Regional Growth Fund programme.
The funding will create up to 40 jobs and help the company purchase new pulp machinery to maintain their green packaging solution for European markets, made entirely from waste paper which is biodegradable, recyclable and compostable.
The finished products comprise of high density mouldings primarily for the horticultural sector; other products include egg trays, fresh produce packaging, sharps bins and protective chemical bottle packs.
Business Minister Michael Fallon said:
To date we have supported more than a thousand SMEs through Regional Growth Fund programmes and Moulded Fibre Products are a great example of this. The funding has given them the impetus to invest for the future and maintain their important export market.
The £10 million North Lincolnshire programme is helping similar SMEs in the area – creating jobs and providing a multiplier effect for the local economy. This is the government’s commitment to growth in action, in partnership with the private sector, to encourage investment and lead to a more balanced economy.
Cllr Liz Redfern, Leader of North Lincolnshire Council said,
This is fantastic news for business in the Humber. We’re genuinely delighted to be amongst the first in the country to be getting our Regional Growth Fund money through the doors and out to local businesses. In turn that’s helping them to create the conditions necessary for growth and jobs.
We are leading the way in getting the money to where it will create the most employment, prosperity and sustainable local economy.
Managing Director of Moulded Fibre Products (MFP), James Gallacher said:
The RGF funding has enabled our company to accelerate our expansion plans, investing in ground breaking pulp moulding technology that will give MFP a major advantage in the European marketplace and creating jobs at the same time.
Notes to editors:
1.Regional Growth Fund (RGF) is a £2.6 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2016. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment to create economic growth and sustainable employment.
2.The Humber LEP programme of £30 million is available to businesses of any size in the Humber region and the minimum amount that can be applied for is £50,000. The deadline for expressions of interest for the Humber programme is 15 March 2013. Please contact the LEP’s press team by calling Nicola Baker on 07753 797461 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
3.Round 4 of the Regional Growth Fund comprises of £350 million and is currently open for applications across England. The deadline for applications is 20 March at noon.
4.Potential applicants in the Yorkshire and Humber Region can phone 07798 675138 to register for the Expression of Interest Event on 19 February in Leeds. Alternatively you can visit ‘Understanding the Regional Growth Fund’ for more information.
5.The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set four ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’ (PDF 1.7MB), published at Budget 2011:
- To create the most competitive tax system in the G20
- To make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
- To encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
- To create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.
Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.