Leisure businesses in Lancashire can now tap into a further £150m of funding from NatWest and RBS as the banks double the fund they set up to support the sector earlier this year.
The Leisure Fund has now been extended to £300m and continues to be made available to SME leisure firms to encourage reinvestment and growth.
The additional cash comes after the bank has already allocated all of the £150m originally pledged since its launch at the end of May.
£7.6m of that figure has been lent in Lancashire with £31m in the North West region.
Andrew Taylor, head of leisure for commercial banking at NatWest and RBS said: “From day one this fund has attracted incredible interest.
“We listened to the needs of our leisure customers and designed the fund specifically to support the needs of this particular industry.
“The fund has now been running for 20 weeks and we have agreed over 250 loans totalling some £160m. Given lending in the equivalent 20 weeks of 2012 was around £60m this is an incredible step forward which proves that confidence is returning and that NatWest really is supporting SME clients across hotel, restaurant and pub businesses.” Hotels have generated the largest demand for the fund so far, borrowing £90m, followed by restaurants and pubs.
Andrew added: “Generating around £97bn of GDP and around 2.2 million jobs, the industry is vital for the UK economy.”
Helen Grant MP, Minister for Tourism, said: “The tourism sector has a major part to play in our economic growth strategy, as it supports local jobs and businesses across the country. It is great to see such positive take-up from the NatWest and RBS Leisure Fund.”
Last month Blackpool based entrepreneur Peter Flynn bought the freehold to The Breck Club in Poulton-Le-Fylde with funding from NatWest. Peter said: “NatWest was the only bank to help me when I needed it.”