£100m fund to boost Blackpool businesses
A one hundred million pound funding pot is set to help local businesses grow and expand, following extra investment by Blackpool Council.
The Blackpool Loan Fund aims to invest in local businesses to help with specific growth projects, and will replace the current Blackpool Investment Fund, which has already supported a dozen companies to expand across the town.
Now, a proposal to the Council’s Executive is recommending expanding the Loan Fund to offer up to £100m worth of loans in the forthcoming years, in a bid to support even more businesses and create more jobs for local people.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Over the past six years, we have had to cut over £118m out of our budget. Those savings, along with potential changes to business rate retention, mean that the only way that we can continue to protect the services that people value is to stop relying on central Government grants and start growing our own income.
“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 that 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.”
Over the last few years, 12 companies have benefitted from the Investment Fund, through a combination of loans and grants worth £1.1m, creating or safeguarding over 380 local jobs.
One such company is Bispham-based Laila’s Fine Foods which has accessed two commercial loans to aid its growth. Nazir Remtulla, Joint Managing Director, said: “Laila’s Fine Foods growth plans have been supported by Blackpool Council for a number of years now through commercial loans and brokerage to available business support and capital grants. 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.”
The Business Loan Fund is available for any businesses based in the locality or looking to relocate, with a project that will generate growth leading to new jobs, with final decisions made by a Blackpool Council panel.
Loans can be used towards overall investment proposals, property improvement or expansion, essential machinery and equipment or associated infrastructure, which are offered at commercial rates with an individually-negotiated repayment plan.