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Time is running out to bid for share of cash, firms warned
EXPANDING firms looking for a cash kick-start are running out of time to bid for Government money aimed at boosting jobs and growth.
The great and good of Worcestershire’s public and private sectors were reminded at a business meeting that the Government is sitting on £1 billion of regional growth fund cash and looking for bids to be tabled no later than June.
County firms, including Worcester-based aerospace castings company Aeromet, have seen success with their bids.
Gary Woodman, executive director of Worcestershire local enterprise partnership, told 80 company chiefs and local authority finance and development chiefs that money was there to be bid for.
He pledged help and advice to the public and private sector wishing to table any bids.
Mr Woodman also warned the county’s business community had to learn to “get behind its business priorities” – effectively asking the meeting’s delegates to sing from the same hymn sheet.
He warned Worcestershire had “a culture of contentment” where, with unemployment below the regional and national average but as high as 17 per cent in some areas, it risked falling between two stools as far the Government was concerned when it gives out funding.
He said: “We know Worcestershire isn’t as bad as some areas but equally, the private sector shrunk in the county during the boom years, and we know the Government will want their money to target the worst areas first.
“It is crucial we do not fall into the trap of falling between two stools, getting nothing from Government.”
In last week’s Budget Chancellor George Osborne also announced £1.8 million more cash for the county’s growing places fund, which has already helped Worcestershire County Cricket Club’s New Road improvement bid, the University Park proposal for Worcester and the British Sugar site at Kidderminster.
The cash can only be used for infrastructure “to unlock pieces of land and act as a catalyst for development,” said Mr Woodman.
“We are now calling for businesses to come to us and bid for the new money for their new projects,” he said.
Firms looking for bid advice, both for the regional growth fund and the growing places fund, should e-mail email@example.com or call 01905 346180.