Tories: 96% of Strategic Investment Fund spent in Labour-held seats

The Tories have accused ministers of using two Government investment funds designed to boost industry and small businesses as election fighting funds after figures revealed that the vast majority of money spent had gone to projects in Labour seats.

According to the figures obtained by the Conservative Party, £488 million out of the £511 million spent to date through the £750 million Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) – or around 96 per cent - has gone to projects in Labour-held seats.

The SIF, first announced in the 2009 Budget, aims to support hi-tech manufacturing and advanced industrial projects to help the UK economy emerge from the recession. The figures show that of the 18 separate constituencies where projects receiving investment are based, 14 are held by Labour.

The figures also revealed that £10.95 million of £12.5 million, or around 88 per cent, spent through the £75 million Capital Enterprise Fund has gone to businesses in Labour-held seats. The Capital Enterprise Fund is an equity fund for small businesses.

Ministers had previously refused to reveal the constituencies into which the investment had flowed as they said this would make it possible to identify the businesses.

Tory shadow business minister Adam Afriyie said the CEF figures, obtained from the fund’s investment managers Octopus and Maven, and those for the SIF showed that ministers were using the two funds to boost a core vote strategy in the forthcoming election.

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