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Growth fund deals reach £540m - Clegg

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The deputy prime minister has visited the north-west ahead of the local elections to emphasise the benefits of the Regional Growth Fund.

Nick Clegg used a visit to Bentley Motors in Crewe, which has secured a second round of funding of £3m, to reveal that a further 22 Regional Growth Fund contracts had been signed.

In an announcement made during the pre-election purdah period, he said the deals would help create more than 70,000 jobs.

The finalisation of the deals, bringing the total numbers contracts signed to 70, means the government has committed £540m so far.

There are another 100 contracts still under negotiation since the second round of successful bidders was announced in October.

The fund, launched 18 months ago, is worth £2.4bn in total and a third round of applications is due to be submitted in June.

Mr Clegg said the Bentley Motors deal was “the tip of the iceberg for the North West” and said 47 successful bids had been agreed in total in the north west.

A full list of the 22 most recently signed contracts was not available, but the Cabinet Office said other regions benefiting included the south-west, north-east, Yorkshire & Humber and the west Midlands.

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