£11.75m boost for growth project

A PROJECT set up in response to the closure of Rio Tinto Alcan’s smelter in Lynemouth has received a major funding boost.

An investment package worth £11.75million for the South East Northumberland Business Growth Programme has been approved by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

As well as looking to stimulate growth among existing firms, it aims to attract new companies to the area.

It includes a Sites and Premises Fund, which will provide grants to businesses looking to invest in new premises and property extensions.

Grants or loans will now be available to help Alcan supply chain firms and others to diversify, attract inward investment, develop new markets, products or services and access additional finance.

The RGF bid was developed by Arch in partnership with Northumberland County Council and was backed by Alcan and all the Northumberland MPs.

Peter McIntyre, Arch Group Managing Director, said: “This is fantastic news for Northumberland as the RGF funding will help to kick-start a range of developments as well as provide valuable funds to attract new investors and help local businesses to grow.”

The new investment complements the Rio Tinto Alcan Regional Economic Development Programme, which aims to provide replacement jobs on the Lynemouth site.

Details of the schemes will now be developed with the expectation that they will be available for businesses to access from spring 2013.