Commenting on the announcement made by Nick Clegg on the second round of the government’s Regional Growth Fund, John Longworth, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC), said:


“We welcome the government’s commitment to invest £950 million which, alongside additional private sector investment, will help to kick-start regional growth. While the government rightly continues to reduce the deficit, investment in the business environment must remain a key priority, and that means stimulating growth in all regions of the UK. However, the public money made available to businesses is only the first step; more private sector investment must follow to stimulate real growth. It is down to those companies that have been successful in securing funding to demonstrate that business is good for their local communities by creating jobs.


“The speed at which this funding is delivered will be fundamental to the success of the Regional Growth Fund. The projects supported by the fund must be started as soon as possible. While due diligence has to play an important role, it must not drag on if we’re to see any real, tangible benefits.

“The Regional Growth Fund on its own is not enough to stimulate business growth. In his Autumn Statement, the Chancellor must introduce further measures that will deliver confidence to businesses, in particular small- and medium-sized companies. The government must develop a strategy that privileges infrastructure development, reduces red tape, and provides additional trade finance support to help firms export. Only then will companies have the confidence to expand, invest and create jobs, and get the UK’s recovery back on track.”