The Regional Growth Fund (RGF), launched in 2010, was a Departments for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and Department for Leveling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) programme aimed at promoting private sector led growth throughout England. Belmana led a four staged study working with IFF Research, Middlesex University and support from the University of the West of England, exploring the economic impacts of the Fund.

The RGF allocated £2.8 billion to programmes and projects to create and safeguard jobs.Small and medium-sized businesses were provided loans and grants; places had significant investments made in infrastrture; large businesses availed of multimillion pound investments; and supply chains were a particular target as innovation investments were made by industrial primes.

Interventions were from 2011-18 and a challenge is estimating additional impact due to the RGF support and the published evaluation presents findings from (i) an econometric analysis of impacts where the beneficiary is a business, (ii) telephone surveys, including beneficiaries and unsuccessful applicants, (iii) case studies of selected large-scale, area-based RGF projects and programmes, and (iv) evidence from RGF monitoring data and (v) interviews with the leaders of RGF-funded projects. The mix of methods provides a rich picture of impact, and the quantitative analysis used robust methods, identifying a counterfactual through statistical matching across all five types of intervention.

The study finds that 187,650 additional years of employment have been created Costs per year of additional employment are just under £15,000. These were the years of employment seen in supported places and businesses but not seen in comparators, and so attributable to the RGF. The study also evaluated the quality of the additional employment. For many of these jobs, an analysis of the pay changes seen as individuals switched into the RGF supported businesses demonstrated there was a wage premium in the jobs created.

Surveys and qualitative evidence then draw out the wider effects and how effects have occurred. In the place based interventions, case studies demonstrate progress towards meeting the expected impacts. Beneficiaries surveyed reported on a range of wider benefits, such as efficiency improvements, spillovers into supply chains and R&D investment.

Evaluating the Regional Growth Fund