RGF funding for Southend-on-Sea

I was questioned by the local media about some funding allocations. These came from the public purse, and I gave the opinion that these allocation needed explaining. I also wondered who made these decisions, and what democratic oversight this entailed.

So, a council officer (obviously an assiduous viewer of the local media) has sent me the following:

Within today’s Echo story I note that you are seeking some further clarification on how this money is being allocated and how the tax payer is to benefit. This programme was part of our City Deal agreement which was launched earlier in the year and a range of businesses are in the process of being awarded / have been awarded funds.

For information, the firms interested in seeking funding need to submit an application which is assessed by a panel comprising organisations from the Southend Business Partnership including the Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses.  The amount of funding is subject to two main factors – amount of jobs being created and that the applicant needs to provide at least 70% of the funding themselves. Funding is claimed back retrospectively so no bidders get funded until they have invested themselves and projects underway.

The larger recipients will be those who are investing the most and in fact also delivering the most new jobs for Southend. Having said that there is a real mix of interests across sectors including engineering and medical technology – the newspaper has picked up on hospitality, one of Southend’s key sectors.

The following companies have been awarded so far:

No. Business Amount ‘£’
1 Bourgee 100k
2 Novo Hair Ltd 13,776
3 Planet Leasing 3k
4 The Vitamin Service 2844
5 Funky Medical 3070
6 Surgical Holdings 17,324
7 Zaptax 27,847
8 Giles Wilson LLP 33,019
9 Reflect Design for Print 1013
10 The Corner Shop 9655
11 Haven Contracts 32,093
12 Six Red Squares 5690
13 Lollipop Local 2628
14 Move it Removals 8106
15 Picture Perfect Pro 3052
16 Southend YMCA 5697
17 EartheZest Organics 3650
18 The Smokey Joint 3743
19 Fairdale UK 14,454
20 Ventrica 114,480
21 Fisherman’s Wharf 42,600
22 Seaside Rocks 100k
23 Waller Precision Engineering 7491

The process we have used in allocating the funding is based on a previous low carbon scheme and is audited regularly by the funders (Lancaster University).

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