Government minister praises ‘catalyst’ for growth at Fontwell business

FUNDING of nearly £6m for the region was announced today (February 12) as government minister Penny Mordaunt toured the south coast.

The Regional Growth Fund is part of a £3.2bn project announced by Nick Clegg in 2010 to ‘promote the private sector’ in areas ‘most at risk to public sector cuts’.

Penny Mordaunt in Shoreham earlier today, before leaving for Fontwell

Penny Mordaunt in Shoreham earlier today, before leaving for Fontwell

Although business secretary Vince Cable stated the south-east ‘is clearly less of a priority’, one of those to benefit was Global Technologies Racing (GTR) in Fontwell allowing it to expand.

“We very much see the potential of this sector,” said Ms Mordaunt. “With the growth deals we have a formula - it is informed by what the local people want.”

Of GTR’s £500,000, 20 per cent (£100,000) was given by the fund.

Most of the money went towards a new machine shop to help meet demand for parts from its clients which include ‘nearly all of the Formula One grid’ and MOD clients.

“We are on a three-year plan,” said John Biddlecombe, GTR director.

“This allows us to expand over the next 12 months and have some funding reserved for the new building.”

The growth has already seen the company take on 11 new employees.

“The best thing about this company, this industry, is it is very labour intensive so we employ a lot of people for what goes out of the door,” said director Simon Kingdon-Butcher.

“We take a lot of youngsters straight out of university and the nearby towns and train them. The work force is fantastic. I wish, when I was 17, 40 years ago that I was able to step in to a job like this.”

In the south east the latest announcement of £5.7m brings the total for the region to £140m, however, a key aim is to ‘unlock’ an additional £900m in private funding.

“We are looking for it to be a catalyst,” said Ms Mordaunt.