By Denna Bowman
Millions of pounds earmarked for Michelin tyres UK factory could be under threat as the new coalition government reviews future spending plans.
Earlier this year the tyres company announced that it had been awarded up to £3.9 million through regional development agency Advantage West Midlands (AWM).
Michelin said it planned to pump the money in to a £20 million modernisation programme for its Stoke plant, which it said would secure its presence in North Staffordshire for years to come.
However, three months on, the new Government has confirmed it will review spending projects agreed after January 1 and decide if they represent value for money.
Vince Cable, the new Business Secretary, said: “The support that government gives to industry is necessarily indirect. It’s not about pumping money into individual companies. That can’t happen – there isn’t the money to do it.”
And asked by the local paper, The Sentinel, if grants approved by regional development agencies since January 1 would go ahead, Dr Cable said: “I’m having a look at those.”
Dr Cable added that the agencies’ budgets would be cut and their structures changed significantly.
But he accepted some parts of the country, including the West Midlands and the North West, needed more support than others.
Peter Snelling, head of communications at Campbell Road-based Michelin, said: “It’s a critical grant we are talking about for proper capital investment.
“We would be exceedingly disappointed if there were to be questions raised.
“The conversations we had with AWM and the Government certainly gave us the indication that it had been budgeted for and approved.”