Businesses’ fury at grant scheme axe

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A GROUP representing businesses in South Yorkshire has slammed a Government decision to axe a grants scheme through which the county has benefited by tens of millions of pounds.

Funding has been handed out to companies in Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster through the Grants for Business Investment scheme, which helps firms create jobs in less prosperous areas.

The Industrial Communities Alliance said payments of £72 million have been made to South and East Yorkshire over the last five years.

Coun Eion Watts, chairman of the alliance and leader of Labour-controlled Bolsover Council, said: “At a time when businesses in our area are struggling, the loss of this vital tool has come as a great blow.

“Since the 1970s, successive Governments have seen the need to create and protect jobs in the less prosperous regions. We believe the Government should revisit its decision to abolish the scheme.”

Beneficiaries have included Rolls Royce, which received the largest grants in the region totalling £27 million towards its investment in the Advanced Manufacturing Park between Sheffield and Rotherham, to firms such as Gripple, Plusnet broadband internet, in Sheffield and Rotherham-based Norton Finance.

A total of 63 grants were awarded to the South Yorkshire area over the five years.