These bids were received in response to the second round of the £1.4 billion fund, which is designed to encourage enterprise, growth and jobs in the private sector and support regions that are dependent on the public sector. The bids will compete for a share of £950 million.
The 492 bids, asking for £3.3 billion, are being assessed by the Independent Advisory Board, chaired by Lord Heseltine, over the summer. The board will then make recommendations to a board of ministers, led by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, which will make the final decisions as to which proposals should receive funding. It is expected that the successful bidders will be announced in the autumn.
There were 140 bids received for the North West – the highest of all the regions, which account for 28 per cent of all the bids received. More than 330 of the total number of bids received are bidding for between £1 million and £5 million.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, said: “This vital regional fund uses government investment and multiplies it to give a real boost to local businesses. Round one is already helping local economies across the country and has attracted £2.5 billion of private sector investment. This will directly create or protect over 27,000 jobs, and secure around a further 100,000 jobs on related supply chains and in local economies. We welcome the bids received for the second round, and hope we can do even more this time.”
Lord Heseltine said: “We knew from the road shows there was going to be a huge amount of interest in the second round of the Regional Growth Fund, and we have been overwhelmed by the volume of bids submitted.
“There is clearly a hunger for public support which will allow new and exciting projects to deliver jobs and growth in their local communities to get off the ground, and I’m pleased to see so many people wanting to be a part of this. We now face the difficult task of assessing each of these bids; we have a busy summer ahead of us!”
In the first round of the Regional Growth Fund, more than 450 bids were submitted. In April the Government announced that of these bids, 50 had been successful and, following a due diligence process, would receive a share of £450 million.
Private sector organisations and public-private partnerships were invited to bid for a share of the £1.4 billion fund to create jobs and boost local growth.
The allocation of funding each successful proposal will receive will be the minimum amount the proposal needs to get off the ground. Each bid must also demonstrate it is bringing in private sources of funding as well. The public investment in the first 50 successful bids is expected to secure a further £2.5 billion of private investment.
Lord Heseltine and the deputy chair of the independent board, Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, attended a series of road shows held across the country to encourage bids to the second round, and to address any queries or issues.
More than 1000 people interested in the fund attended the road shows, where they were also able to attend surgeries with BIS officials.