£1bn business funding boost to help Stoke-on-Trent firms
BUSINESSES are celebrating after landing a share of a £1 billion Government growth fund.
Five bids from the region are among 130 to have successfully secured cash from round three of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).
Pottery giant WWRD, Wedgwood's parent company, has been allocated £5.1 million towards its £25 million redevelopment plans at Barlaston, while the North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce has been awarded almost £4.2 million for a grant fund for growing firms.
Engineering group Goodwin International has secured an undisclosed sum to expand its foundry in Hanley and build a new apprentice training school.
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Crewe-based luxury car-maker Bentley has already received almost £4.7 million in rounds one and two and is to use its latest undisclosed award to support the design, engineering development and staff training costs associated with a new model.
A spokesman said: "The award is a clear indication of the Government's support for advanced manufacturing in the UK and Bentley Motors in particular."
GE Power Conversion, in Kidsgrove, formerly Converteam, has received an undisclosed sum to create a centre of excellence for developing power converters for renewable energy.
Anthony Jones, chief financial officer at WWRD, said the firm was 'delighted' with its award.
It will go towards a £25 million overhaul of the firm's Barlaston estate, including new manufacturing facilities, new offices and an expanded and upgraded Wedgwood 'visitor experience', which will safeguard 500 existing jobs and create more than 100 new ones.
Mr Jones said: "I think it is a ringing endorsement of our proposals."
The North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce fund expenditure such as premises, infrastructure and machinery.
Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Ron Dougan said: "This is a real shot in the arm for the region."
More than 400 bids were submitted for round three of the RGF, which aims to create jobs and boost growth outside London.
Many successful bidders from rounds one and two are still waiting for their final offer but Business Minister Mark Fallon said this time around final offers must be agreed and due diligence completed in three months.