Cable flies into controversy with £32m for Westland

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The Independent Online

AgustaWestland has secured a £22m government loan to build the new AW169 helicopter at its Yeovil factory, along with £10m in research and development grants.

The funds, announced by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, reignited questions about the Government's failure to assist Sheffield Forgemasters, which halted plans to install a 15,000-tonne press to make parts for the nuclear industry after the Coalition cancelled an £80m loan last year.

But a spokeswoman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said: "The project reapproval process carried out in June last year – which included the £80m loan to Sheffield Forgemasters – was about making the books balance for the last financial year."

The support for AgustaWestland, in contrast, "will be over the next four years", the spokeswoman added.

Separately, Sheffield Forgemasters confirmed that it had made an application for government funding from the Regional Growth Fund this year.

It added, however, that the new application "does not relate to any previous funding applications for a 15,000-tonne press."