£1bn Growth Funding boost for region

FOUR companies in our area have been given a funding boost after being allocated a share of a £1bn Government payout.

Round three of the Government’s flagship Regional Growth Fund has seen High Integrity Products Group win backing for a new factory in Hartlepool, and Peterlee-based Actem (UK) Limited, Caterpillar Peterlee and NSK Bearings Europe also receive funding.

But there was a blow for the owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport, which was unsuccessful in its bid for help towards building a massive freight operation on land south of the airport runway.

The £5.9m airport scheme would have created up to 1,500 jobs and taken 10 years to complete, but the decision not to award funding has been criticised by MPs Phil Wilson, for Sedgefield, and Alex Cunningham MP, who represents Stockton North, in Parliament yesterday.

There was better news elsewhere in the North-East with a total of 25 projects and programmes being awarded funding.

The total allocation for the area is £105m, of which more than half will come to Tees Valley.

Meanwhile, Tees Valley Unlimited was also successful in bidding for funding for two programmes.

They are Contract Catalyst, a £10m programme aimed at providing finance for warranty bonds for Tees Valley companies looking to bid on large contracts and Let’s Grow, which will offer grants of between £50,000 and £1m to North-East companies.

Stephen Catchpole, Tees Valley Unlimited’s managing director, said: “Two programme bids will give small and medium sized companies the chance to benefit from Regional Growth Fund, further facilitating growth across the supply chain and into global markets.”

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: “This £1bn boost for growth in towns and cities across England is creating jobs that will last in the parts of the country that need it most.”