Chancellor George Osborne has announced a £22.5m funding boost for rural businesses in the North East during a visit to Simpsons Malt in Berwick.
The fund will support business growth in the North East, with special focus on rural communities, over the next five years from 2015.
Mr Osborne said: “Our long term economic plan is about delivering jobs and growth across all parts of Britain, and three quarters of the net new private sector jobs created since 2010 have been outside London.
“Backing small businesses here in the North East is a key part of this plan which is why we are creating this new fund for business communities in Northumberland, County Durham and Gateshead, totalling over £22 million.
“By supporting these business hubs across the region we can create a more balanced, resilient economy.”
Investments will be made through two grant funds; the Small Business Growth Fund and the Economic Infrastructure Fund.
This will fund the development of workspaces; the creation of rural ‘enterprise hubs’;·investment in tourist attractions and accommodation; and investment in new equipment to help small business grow.
The money will be allocated over five years and be made up of £6 million government funding, private sector investment of £9.5 million and £7 million of European funding.
The Chancellor made the announcement at a visit to Simpsons Malt in Berwick on Thursday afternoon, which produces 280,000 tonnes of premium malt for brewing, distilling and food industries worldwide.
He was shown how the business has thrived since its foundation and has invested more than £90m in its core malting business during the past 30 years.