Projects to support over 7,500 new jobs and secure 14,000 more across the Potteries, the West Midlands and Warwickshire feature in the latest round of investment by the government’s Regional Growth Fund announced on Friday October 19th.

The projects announced today are part of the third round of investment worth £1.05bn by the Regional Growth Fund, which is overseen by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and has already announced £2.4bn of investment in the first two rounds.

West Midlands MEP Phil Bennion, Lib Dem Employment Spokesman in the European Parliament, said:

Today’s announcement is a significant investment in new jobs in the Potteries, Birmingham and across the manufacturing heart of the West Midlands. It is a vote of confidence in our industries and a boost for everyone involved in securing this investment.

Instead of concentrating on the City of London . . . it is good to see Lib Dem ministers in the Coalition taking action to ensure the West Midlands is given the help it needs:

Our economy has relied too much on financial services based mostly in London. I am pleased to see Liberal Democrats are ensuring this government takes real action to rebalance the economy by investing in areas like ours through the Regional Growth Fund.”

He predicted that the Regional Growth Fund, steered by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable, will prove to be a vital ingredient in promoting economic recovery. Lib Dem leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

This £1bn boost for growth in towns and cities across England is creating jobs that will last in the parts of the country that need it most. In tough economic times the Regional Growth Fund is good value for taxpayers’ money – this £1bn round of the fund is pulling in £6bn of private sector investment.

Several projects announced were related to the car industry as would be expected. Others of interest included:

Turner Powertrain Systems: enabling UK work to be repatriated

553 direct jobs, 479 indirect jobs at Turner Powertrain Systems of Wolverhampton, which designs, develops, manufactures, sells and supports of off-highway power control transmissions for Backhoe Loaders, Telescopic Material Handlers and 4 – 9 tonne Site Dumpers.

It is to invest in a new European Centre of Excellence for component machining and assembly in Wolverhampton. The investment will enable non-UK work to be repatriated, together with improved quality, supply reliability and competitive cost levels. This will enable growth in the business and reverse the decline which has occurred over the past 5 years. The project has been selected to  receive Regional Growth Funding without which the project would not have proceeded causing the closure of the existing factory an potential job losses.

GE Energy`s Centre of Excellence for the design, development and manufacture of low voltage power convertors in renewable energy

307 direct job and 523 indirect jobs for GE Energy of Newcastle under Lyme, who are creating a Centre of Excellence. This latest stage of expansion of their Power Conversion business signifies further advances in their manufacturing processes and volumes. Gary Lynch, Business Manager, said, “Creating this Centre of Excellence for the design, development and manufacture of low voltage power convertors in renewable energy in this part of the country is just reward for a workforce who have raised productivity levels year-on-year.

Birmingham City Council`s transition to a green economy

Birmingham City Council, on behalf of a cross-LEP consortium in the West Midlands, has been selected to receive funding from the Regional Growth Fund. Small grants of up to £100k will be provided to boost SME supply chain companies in their transition to a green economy.

The WWRD pottery group

43 new jobs and 591 indirect jobs. WWRD (Wedgwood-Waterford-Royal Doulton) has been successful in being selected for funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to support the proposed £25 million redevelopment of its Wedgwood Estate in Barlaston, Stoke on Trent.