Reality of the Regional Growth Fund: 22 press releases issued. Only 2 businesses helped. None in the North East & Cumbria

Ed MilibandEd Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, highlighted at Prime Minister’s Questions today how the Tory-led Government’s plan for the economy is not working. The Regional Growth Fund has helped only two businesses across the country to date.

Ed Miliband MP, Leader of the Labour Party, said at Prime Minister's Questions today :

"They’ve certainly issued lots of press releases about the regional growth fund: 22. But how many businesses have been helped in the last 16 months? Two businesses have been helped. Two businesses in 16 months. And how many businesses have gone bankrupt in that time Mr Speaker? 16,000. What greater example could there be of the way this Government’s plan is not working. We’ve had 18 months of his economic experiment and what’s he got to show for it? More and more people losing their jobs, more and more businesses going bust and inflation going through the roof. And all we’ve got is a Prime Minister who’s hopelessly out of touch."

By scrapping the Regional Development Agencies and putting in place a Regional Growth Fund, the Government has effectively cut funding for regional growth by two thirds. But Labour has a plan to create more jobs and growth in the North East and Cumbria:

- Create up to 5,500 jobs for young people and build 800 new homes
- Bring forward investment projects like new school buildings
-Temporarily reverse the Tory-led Government's VAT rise - a £450 boost for families with children.
- Cut VAT on home improvements to 5% for a year.
- Give small firms a tax break to take on extra workers.

Ends

Notes to Editors
1. Article in the Times on the issue: 
“…. investigations by The Times have revealed that only two schemes have received their money six months on from being named as recipients of grants — and those disbursements are for only £5.8 million from an initial £450 million promised.”
The Times, 17 October 2011, http://thetim.es/o4zfB1 

2. The Government launched Regional Growth Fund to support projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and jobs. But the reality of the regional growth fund is 2 businesses helped. 22 press releases issued: http://bit.ly/pQDvjR