Archives for posts with tag: Regional Growth Fund

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.



In the council chamber, Cllr John Clancy’s passionate address about the ‘Unemployment Iceberg’ earlier this month, was warmly applauded and can be seen on video here.  

He said that long-term unemployment is soaring – up 49% during the last 12 months – due to the economic crisis caused by the financial sector, not ordinary people. No one is spending and we need to change course before we hit the iceberg.

Today’s news questions the value of demoralising training for jobs which do not exist and of ‘providers’ like A4e, with its average success rate of 3.5%, according to data seen by Channel 4 News. Let’s find out more about actual working models created by local people: 

A revolving ‘not for personal profit’ fund 

Years ago, Sir Adrian Cadbury set up the Aston Commission which published several findings; one was that people in the area were unable to get bank loans to start or improve businesses because they had no form of security to offer. To address this, he worked with Localisation West Midlands’ co-founder Pat Conaty, then working at the Birmingham Settlement, to set up a revolving ‘not for personal profit’ fund – the Aston Reinvestment Trust [ART] . When loans are repaid the money helps another business and profit is reinvested in the company. Over the years it has created or retained more than 4000 jobs in the city.  

Paid work experience, with training for long-term unemployed, through community businesses 

Dr Christine Parkinson studied as a biologist and spent the first part of her career in medical research before changing direction and moving to Birmingham, where she has helped to develop three socially beneficial projects in the inner city. One was the Jericho Community Project, which continues to offer paid work experience with training, to the long-term unemployed, through community businesses. 

Resisting off-shoring and training apprentices

The Davies family have a proud, unbroken record of training apprentices, the industrial norm until the 70s. Managing director Kirsty, currently West Midlands Family Business Director of the Year, hit the headlines when the Chamber of Commerce was vigorously promoting offshoring to local manufacturers. She ‘went public’: “With what they are proposing, they will take work away from the West Midlands and once you do that then you will never get it back . . . It may be old fashioned but I think firms have a moral duty to protect their employees and exporting manufacturing abroad is no way to do that.”

And with help from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund . . .

Winson Green-based Sunsolar which currently supplies and install PV Solar Panels has been awarded £5m from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund to build solar PV panels. This will be added to a £5 million company investment in building a new factory in Oldbury for the purpose, employing local suppliers and hoping to create as many as 565 new jobs over the next five years. Rob Grant, Sunsolar’s Business Manager adds:

“To begin with the modules will be produced using cells purchased from Europe; however this is only on a short-term solution to get the factory up and running this year. The company is currently placing an order for cell manufacturing machinery which it expects to be in place by the beginning of next year. At that point the manufacturing of the whole module will come from within the UK.”

News of other enterprises directly or indirectly addressing the demoralising unemployment ‘iceberg’ will be welcomed and featured here.