With the deadline for bids in round 2 of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) looming (1 July 2011), I am surprised at the lack of opinion on the initiative. Sir Ian Wrigglesworth assures us that interest is high, as does Lord Heseltine – and with £1.4bn of public funding behind it, interest should be high.
The RGF will operate across England from now until 2014, supporting projects and programmes that lever private sector investment, creating economic growth and sustainable employment. In particular the initiative aims to help those areas and communities currently dependent on the public sector, to make the transition to sustainable private sector-led growth and prosperity. It all seems a little fanciful – great ideas just waiting to happen in these target communities now that times are hard. Is this why there is a distinct lack of buzz?
I know, let’s go to the ‘Regional Growth Fund blog’ – perhaps that is where the buzz is.
Seems not – just one comment a month ago today and no visible response from BIS either. I hope that the RGF has a positive impact – it really needs to – but I have an inbuilt scepticism about such initiatives. And in all honesty if really good business ideas for sustainable employment and growth are out there in places like Dudley and Preston and Redcar would they have waited for RGF to be dreamed-up or moved forward years ago with or without public funding?