Nick Clegg invites regional growth fund bids

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Indy Politics

Nick Clegg will invite bids for a share of a new £1.4 billion regional growth fund today as ministers set out plans to stimulate areas hit by public spending cuts.



The fund is designed to help promote investment in the absence of regional development agencies (RDAs), which are being abolished by the Government.



It is intended to support areas that are heavily reliant on the public sector and will bear the brunt of public sector job losses.



Some 610,000 public sector posts are expected to be axed by 2016 under Chancellor George Osborne's £81 billion spending cuts.



The Deputy Prime Minister will declare the regional growth fund "open for business" on a visit to the North West.



He will be joined by Lord Heseltine, the former Conservative deputy prime minister in John Major's government, who is to oversee bids as chairman of an advisory panel.



Applicants will need to demonstrate that they would use the cash - available only in England - to attract private sector investment and create long-term job growth.



The first 20 local enterprise partnerships between business groups and councils are also to be announced today after having their submissions approved by ministers.



More are in the pipeline from among 62 initial applications.



The partnerships are also designed help manage private sector growth after the scrapping of RDAs.



Business Secretary Vince Cable will this afternoon present to Parliament a White Paper on Local Growth which will further detail what is to happen to the assets and liabilities of RDAs.



Lord Heseltine told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "The object of the exercise is to stimulate people to create jobs in the private sector.



"I don't know the answer to where the jobs will come from. What we can do is make ourselves available so people know the opportunity is there and then make the best judgments on the bids that come forward."

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