England

Government cash for North East jobs

Nissan plant
Image caption Sunderland's Nissan plant was among the successful companies

More than 13,500 jobs are to be created or safeguarded in the north east of England, after the government awarded firms grants worth millions of pounds.

Fourteen companies in the region were successful in their bid for cash from the Regional Growth Fund.

They include the Cleveland Potash mine on Teesside, Sunderland's Nissan plant and Turbo Power Systems in Gateshead.

However, Labour said that more than 50 other companies had applied for funding but had missed out.

The largest pay-out was to the Cleveland Potash mine in Boulby, which will use the £15m to mine and process polyhalite.

Lotte Chemical UK got £6.7m to build a new polyethylene plant at its Wilton site. The move will create 55 direct jobs and safeguard 200 more.

Car part supplier Nifco, in Stockton, has been awarded £1.65m and hopes to create 128 jobs and safeguard 158.

AV Dawson in Middlesbrough received £1.2m to develop a terminal at Teesport to handle the biomass which will be eventually used to create fuel and food.

'Bowled over'

There was also £1.65m for the new owners of the Redcar steelworks, SSI, to go towards training its new workforce.

Other winners were: Bridon International, a steel wire rope manufacturer in Wallsend; Chirton Engineering; Connor Solutions, which manufactures electronics in Sunderland; Seaham chilled seafood supplier Cumbrian Holdings; Duco in Newcastle; Durham County Cricket Club; and Proctor and Gamble.

In making the announcement, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said: "I was bowled over by the quality of the bids.

"This money will now help create and safeguard jobs in some of the communities worst hit by the economic downturn."

However, Labour described the £400m given out across England by the fund as comparing unfavourably to the £2.2bn paid out in grants by Regional Development Agencies in the final year of the Labour government.

Bidding for the second round of funding has now opened, with firms able to submit their case until 1 July.

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