Thousands of jobs will be created or safeguarded under the third round of the government's Regional Growth Fund, which will see 130 projects receive a share of more than £1 billion.

The investment will help manufacturing firms, small businesses and local partnerships across England to expand their operations, create new jobs and stimulate growth.

Figures show that for every £1 of taxpayer money spent, the fund will leverage £6 of private sector investment, which will be key to sustaining jobs for the long term.

“In tough economic times the Regional Growth Fund is good value for taxpayers’ money,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.

“This £1 billion boost for growth in towns and cities across England is creating jobs that will last in the parts of the country that need it most.”

He concluded: “The Regional Growth Fund is working, on track and supporting businesses to create jobs and grow the economy.”