Grant delays 'scandalous'
DELAYS in awarding government kick-start grants have been branded 'scandalous'.
An influential Commons spending watchdog says it is "highly disappointed" so few final approvals had been given and projects started under the Regional Growth Fund, which is aimed at boosting the economy and creating jobs.
Members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) point out that after two years only a third of the offers had been finalised, and only £60 million of the earmarked £1.4 billion had actually been spent on frontline projects – just four per cent.
As a result only a fraction of the expected jobs had been created.
The PAC report said: "Given the importance and urgency of the programme the committee was highly disappointed to find that so few final approvals had been given and so few projects had actually started."
Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw said: "Given that Government policy has plunged Britain into a double dip recession it is a scandal that so little of the money earmarked for growth in the regions has been delivered.
"They inherited a perfectly good system with the South West Regional Development Agency that helped see us through the banking crisis post 2008. But the coalition tore that up and all we've had since is a vacuum."