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Regional Growth Fund (Yorkshire)

Volume 518: debated on Thursday 18 November 2010

4. How much money the regional growth fund will distribute to enterprises in Yorkshire in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12. (24724)

The regional growth fund is a challenge fund for England and is not ring-fenced or pre-allocated, including in terms of location. The fund will run for three years from 2011 to 2014, and the first round of bidding is now open for receipt of project proposals. It will close on 21 January 2011.

As investment in jobs, Yorkshire Forward offered the National Railway museum £5 million towards the cost of redisplaying the exhibition in its great hall, but was forced to withdraw the money because of the Government’s withdrawal of support for regional development agencies. Does the Minister agree with his colleague, the Under-Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), who suggested at a meeting with me and his hon. Friend the Member for York Outer (Julian Sturdy) that the regional growth fund could be used to fund the National Railway museum to pick up where Yorkshire Forward was forced to leave off? Will he consider that proposal, and get back to me to talk about how that could be taken forward?

I have been to the National Railway museum, which is an excellent part of Yorkshire’s tourism and industrial heritage. There are clear rules about the regional growth fund, and they could well include the opportunity for a bid from the National Railway museum. If the hon. Gentleman or his local partners wish to proceed with that, they should look at the White Paper, and if there are any problems, I am happy to help.