regional growth fun

Jim Pickard

The process by which companies apply for grants from the regional growth fund is not desperately transparent. As I wrote on this blog, we don’t know the details or the sums awarded to over a hundred companies yesterday.

And questions are already being raised about how money was allocated to Sheffield Forgemasters (near Nick Clegg’s constituency), JCB (run by a Tory donor) and a company part-owned by Jon Moulton.

What we don’t know in detail is the arguments being put forward by councils and companies which have clinched the final decisions.

Sunny Hundal, founder of the Liberal Conspiracy website, has sent out a bundle of FOI requests to get hold of some of this correspondence. Out of 50 applicants, however, only six have provided the information.

What he received is interesting as it suggests a large degree of arm-twisting by some companies.

For example CQME, a Chinese technology company, has suggested it could make its British subsidiary, Holroyd Precision, the base for its European headquarters.

But if the Rochdale company did not get a £2.8m grant from the RGF, it wrote, this could damage its expansion in this country.

“Without RGF support, the project will not go ahead in the UK as it leaves us with a shortfall of £2.82 million having taken

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