A Black Country metalbasher has launched a scathing attack on the Government's aid agencies after being denied money to diversify its business.
Clamason Industries claims it was invited by Birmingham Research and Development (BRDL) to apply for £25,000 from its Technology Transfer fund.
The money was intended to help the Kingswinford-based firm switch from supplying the automotive industry to the medical sector.
Tim Jones, sales manager at Clamason, recieved an invitation to a working breakfast at Edgbaston.
He said: "We are trying to change from making bent metal for cars to making bent metal for the medical sector.
"It is a quantum leap for us, and although the quality standards for Rover, who we used to supply for example are high, they are much higher in the medical industry.
"Getting into this fund was a way of safeguarding local jobs."
The technology transfer fund was available for new and existing small companies, with up to £25,000 available to each firm for business planning, protection of intellectual property, and market research.
Each company had to be in the Objective 2 area of the West Midlands and a new area called central technology belt, between Malvern and Birmingham city centre along the A38 corridor - neither of which included Kingswinford.
Mr Jones said: "It was all a bit vague about the actual geography. We applied to the fund and we received a visit from an inspector to our factory a few days later.
"He said our application was one of the best they had received. We asked about the geography, but we were assured that our application was so good that although this was a grey area, we fitted the bill so much that we would have a very good change of getting it."
Clamason wanted the money so it could pass the industry standards to supply components for the medical industry.
Mr Jones said: "We don't have the expertise to go through this process which would require an awful lot of paperwork and a battery of tests to ensure we reach the required standards."
He said a few days later his company received a letter saying because they were not in the Objective 2 or Central Technology Belt Area they were not eligible after all.
He said: " We couldn't believe it. When we were invited by BRDL they must have known our post code and that we weren't in that area.
"When they came to visit us, they knew we weren't in the area. We are angry, they can't just move the goal posts.
"I doubt they will ever get through £1.6 million if they just use B postcodes." Mr Jones said he had received backing from Dudley MP Ian Pearson, while he had received another visit from a BRDL representative.
"He came all the way from Marlow in Buckinghamshire, which seems ridiculous. He agreed with all my points, but still won't give us the money.
"It's infuriating and not fair. We do not mind not getting the money, but we do mind being told we can have the money and them being told no, especially when we are exactly the type of firm the funding was set up for.
"We are going to pay for it ourselves now, but £30,000 is a lot of money, especially when we have spent £250,000 on new equipment."
A spokesman for Advantage West Midlands, which oversees the fund, said there had been a massive response to the initiative which meant the strict geographical boundaries had to be applied.
He said: "I don't think it would be fair to say we led Clamason on. The whole process took only six days from start and finish.
"We have had more than 100 expressions of interest and are well on course to spend all the money. We have only £1.5 million to distribute and with £25,000 each we have to be strict about which companies we allocate it to.
"This pilot scheme has been an enormous success and we would like to extend it in the future. This is the first step." ..SUPL: