Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (31st October 2011) welcomed the news that Teesside firms were on the national list of companies benefiting from backing from the second round of the Government’s Regional Growth Fund, but warned ‘that red tape and box ticking’ by London based coalition politicians and civil servants could delay expansion plans.
Tom said “It is good that Teesside based firms like Able UK, Tioxide, Johnson Matthey, Darchem and PD Ports are on today’s list. These are firms at the cutting edge and are needed if we are to fight out of recession. It was good, too, to see that the Wilton based NEPIC – the process industry cluster for the region, and formed by the previous Regional Development Agency, ONEne, are also on the list.”
“But I am very worried that in the small print of today’s announcement is the glib civil service phrase that these are conditional approvals and ones subject to due diligence. This worries me in terms of how soon these offers can be converted into real cash, allowing projects to go ahead and for jobs to be created. Many regional companies made offers in the first round are still waiting six months on for the cheque in the post from Vince Cable’s London office, and if that is any guide, many of the firms on today’s list may still face a long wait.”
“I can only echo the comments made on the Today radio programme this morning by the North East Chamber of Commerce that all this was done more quicker and efficiently by the old Regional Development Agency – and which was a body based in the region and made up of regional interests. Today’s announcement has to be welcomed, but that mustn’t stop Labour looking to better alternatives for regional development.”