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Lep ‘ahead of the game’ on funding bids

20:19 25 February 2014

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visits the CAV Aerospace in Consett, County Durham today on a visit to the North East as he announces grants from the Government

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg visits the CAV Aerospace in Consett, County Durham today on a visit to the North East as he announces grants from the Government's regional grownth fund which will help create and protect 275 jobs at two firms in the North East. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 14, 2013. See PA story POLITICS Clegg. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The man tasked with helping to handout millions of pounds of funding support to firms across Norfolk and Suffolk said the region was ahead of the game when it came to distributing regional growth fund cash.

A report by the National Audit Office said there was still a “significant” amount of money to be allocated through the regional growth fund.

The number of jobs created or safeguarded since the £2.6bn fund was set up in 2012 had increased by 22,100 to 44,400. But around half were covered by just five schemes, while the average cost for each additional job had increased from £33,000 to £37,400, said the NAO. Around £492m had now reached projects, but most of the fund remained unspent, with £425 million held by intermediaries, said the report.

Chris Dashper, head of programmes at New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, believed some firms are put off by the application process and monitoring, but the Lep had tried to make the process as easy as possible.

New Anglia still has to allocate a significant chunk of its own £12m Growing Business Fund, but the Lep was nevertheless one of the better performers.

He said: “We are probably ahead of the game. We have have allocated about £2.3m to projects, creating 408 jobs and we have got about another £2m in the pipeline. “We can certainly do more and we would like more applications.”

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