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£130m investment set to boost Black Country employment

MORE than £130 million of investment is on its way to the Black Country to support business plans intended to create more than 2,200 jobs.

A total of £28 million has been secured through the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF) via five separate bids that will help a total of around 90 Black Country companies expand their business operations.

It is expected that the £28 million grant funding will lead to over £130 million of private sector investment being made by the businesses involved.

Successful businesses include Tipton-based manufacturer Cab-Automotive and Wolverhampton-based BRM Packaging.

Dozens more businesses from sectors including automotive, advanced manufacturing and environmental technologies are all celebrating receiving funding.

The Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) supported all the applications and co-ordinated one of the five bids in a joint programme bid on behalf of around 40 companies.

Those firms' individual bids would not have met the criteria for the Government funding stream, as it required minimum applications of £1 million.

Stewart Towe, chairman of Black Country LEP, said: " We are absolutely delighted to have helped attract hundreds of millions of pounds worth of investment into the Black Country.

“The LEP has worked closely with a number of private sector bids to maximise their chance of success and compiled an excellent programme bid to help more businesses benefit from the funding.”

Councillor Darren Cooper , LEP board member and leader of Sandwell Council, said: “Around 90 businesses from across the Black Country will be directly benefitting from these successful bids, which is clearly excellent news.

“It is expected that, in total, this investment will create more than 2,200 new jobs.”

Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership worked with partners including the four Black Country local authorities, Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) and Black Country Chamber of Commerce to co-ordinate bids and provide support and advice to applicants.

Rachel Eade, supply chain specialist for the Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS), added: “We are delighted to have supported the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership and manufacturing companies in compiling successful Regional Growth Fund bids.

“Accessing investment to facilitate growth, new products and projects is vital to the success of the local economy and in the creation of new jobs. It also highlights the close working relationships we are developing with the LEPs to ensure our industry knowledge is maximised to leverage more funding.”

The Regional Growth Fund is administered by BIS (Department for Business Innovation and Skills) and all successful applications will now go through a due diligence process before money is released.

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