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Newspapers prepare to hand out £30m to local firms

Two regional dailies who won a £30m cashpot to help local businesses have opened the up fund to applicants.

Newcastle’s The Journal and the Teesside’s Evening Gazette were awarded the huge cashpot from the government’s Regional Growth Fund in October to run a programme of business support, called Let’s Grow.

The fund aims to create or safeguard around 3,500 jobs by helping firms expand and grow and will be targeted at manufacturing businesses in the North East.

The Journal has previously run a similar campaign, which saw £3m secured from the same fund to give to 11 North East firms.

Journal editor Brian Aitken said: “It is pleasing that the success of Let’s Grow has been recognised with the £30m award.

“The Journal and Evening Gazette are the catalysts for the activity that will now take place. Working with our partners the BE Group and UNW, who both bring their different expertise to the table, is what makes us collectively such a strong delivery partner for the government.”

Applications will run until December 2014 and will run as a series of quarterly competitions promoted by the titles.

The papers were joined in applying for the funds by accountants UNW and the BE Group, which is responsible for managing the fund.

Neville Bearpark, of UNW, said: “It is important to the region because it will be the main source of grant funding for companies here. I won’t say it is the only source but by far it will be the main source of grant funding in the North East.

“If the bid had not been successful the majority of companies in the region would not be able to access grant funding for capital projects.”

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  • March 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – If the local newspapers are the ones dishing out this money where is the local scrutiny going to come from?

    Who is going to be asking the questions about whether the scheme really is a success? Who is going to be putting in the FOI requests?

    Worst idea. Ever.

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