Most of the funds set aside by the Government in order to boost regional economies remains unspent, according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO). The Regional Growth Fund was set up in June 2010 to back projects with significant potential for economic growth, in particular in areas heavily dependent on the public sector for employment. The NAO’s assessment found that, although £492m has been invested in projects since 2012, most of the £2.6bn of initial funding hasn’t been used.
The NAO also says the cost of creating new jobs via the fund has increased, but that the number of jobs created or protected since the fund was set up in 2012 had increased by 22,100 to 44,400. The NAO report concludes that the fund is now better managed and that the process of making final offers to bidders has sped up.