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Regional Growth Fund £450m projects may not win full funding

A senior adviser to the government’s Regional Growth Fund has admitted he does not expect due diligence to be completed on all the 50 projects entitled to £450 million funding.

The government announced the list of first-round projects set to receive £450m total funding under the growth fund, with a further £950m to be handed out in round two.

However deputy chairman of the RGF advisory panel, Sir Ian Wrigglesworth told Construction News that the projects may not all receive funding once due diligence has been completed.

“It may well be that under due diligence some projects may not stand up to scrutiny. It is inevitable there will be some that have not crafted their application in the way they should have done,” he said.

“But due diligence is important as this is public money so we have to take our time in awarding it and make sure the money is spent properly.”

In total, 50 projects were awarded £450m funding, which will be supplemented by private sector investment, following 464 applications worth £2.78bn.

Sir Wrigglesworth said the panel were confident the projects would generate approximately £3bn in investment into UK projects, of which some could have been moved abroad if a funding contribution hadn’t been awarded.

The government believe the projects will safeguard or create more than 27,000 jobs, while Sir Wrigglesworth said the panel now wanted to see the money invested as quickly as possible.

“We are very keen to get money into the economy and there will be a tremendous amount of construction work flowing from the projects. Those projects that didn’t receive funding can resubmit their bids so they comply with our criteria and succeed in the second round.”

Among the projects expected to receive funding are a rail freight terminal in Middlesbrough, a new Lotte Chemical UK plant on Teesside and the conversion of the former Royal Eye Hospital in Manchester into a 9,200 sq m ­biomedical centre.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “We wanted to see proposals that created jobs in the private sector, in areas of deprivation and that is at risk of suffering from public sector cuts. I’m confident that the successful bids we have chosen will deliver on this.”

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