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Friday 3rd July 2020

Furness Business News

512 new jobs created in 2007 with help from enterprise group

A DEVELOPMENT agency claims its grants and business advice helped create 512 new jobs in Furness in 2007.

But the impressive total was 125 jobs fewer than in 2006 when it contributed towards 638 jobs.

Tougher restrictions on grants for business starters and growing economic uncertainty were blamed for the drop.

Furness Enterprise arranges government and EU funds to help new firms start up, or existing ones grow, in deprived areas.

But the number of jobs created by people starting up new firms has dropped from 212 in 2005 and 183 in 2006, to just 113 in 2007.

The agency blames changes which meant the updated Point grant for helping new starters, with grants of up to £1,500, was not as flexible as the original Point, in how the cash could be spent.

The agency’s chairman Steve Murray said in the introduction to a new job creation report: “We enabled 113 people to gain employment in new start businesses in 2007, a year which saw the criteria for assisting new start business formation tightened by our funders.

The (negative) impact has been dramatic but we are exploring ways to enhance the support available to enable the Furness area to address the challenge of being the most business deprived area in the UK.”

To qualify for the new Point grant, would-be entrepreneurs had to show they could not start up without it, and then had to sp end the cash on promotion. FE said many people starting up new firms had bigger priorities for spending aid, such as using it to buy tools.

It argued successfully for some of the restrictions to be lifted. In 2007 organic growth accounted for 131.5 new jobs, a drop on 2006.

Reinvestment, jobs creation and new investment, provided another 268 of the new jobs, which with the 113 self starters made a total of 512.5.

The agency’s chief executive Harry Knowles warned 2008 could be another tough year for job creation because of national and international economic uncertainty.

The agency says despite the dip, the latest figures mean its actions have helped firms and individuals create a total of 8,615 jobs in the Barrow and Ulverston area since 1992, and helped protect 3,078 existing jobs.

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