£100m loan fund to boost Blackpool businesses

Cash boost PHOTO PA
Cash boost PHOTO PA
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Town hall chiefs are poised to set up a £100m loan fund in a bid to boost business investment in Blackpool.

Blackpool Council already has a pot of £10m set aside but councillors are today being asked to increase that sum to £100m.

Laila's fine foods

Laila's fine foods

It is believed the move will help companies create more jobs in the resort.

The council will borrow the money at low interest rates and lend it at a slightly higher rate, but at a better rate than a bank loan.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said the council had to start generating its own income in the face of budget cuts amounting to £118m over the past six years.

He said: “The best way of doing that is to invest in Blackpool, in our businesses and in our people.

“As a council, we have the ability to borrow money at a lower interest rate than others, which can then be lent out to support companies to build, grow and hire.

“Each of the loans will be rigorously assessed, with businesses double-checked to ensure the money and interest can be repaid.

“But our approach from the outset is that by investing and believing in our local companies we can create growth in our local economy, getting more local people back into work and making Blackpool a more economically prosperous town.

“These loans will not only help companies to expand, but the repayments will help support our own budget and maintain our services.

“This investment is absolutely crucial to create jobs, to boost visitor numbers, boost the local economy, and secure income for future generations.”

The proposal will go before the council’s executive today.

It will replace the current Blackpool Investment Fund set up in 2009/10, originally containing £3m.

Over the last few years, 12 companies have benefitted from the Investment Fund, through loans and grants worth £1.1m, creating or safeguarding more than 380 jobs.

One company to benefit already is Bispham-based Laila’s Fine Foods.

Nazir Remtulla, joint managing director, said:“Laila’s Fine Foods growth plans have been supported by Blackpool Council for a number of years now.

“This has enabled us to invest, expand and create local jobs. Most recently we have been aided in our expansion plans in Bispham which has seen our factory expand to over 90,000sqft, increase turnover to £36m and employ 320 local people.”

For more information on applying, visit www.blackpoolunlimited.com or email bif@blackpool.gov.uk