Blackpool Council’s executive is recommending that the existing Blackpool Investment Fund is expanded and renamed the Loan Fund, with £100m of loans to be made available for business growth.
The Blackpool Loan Fund will support specific growth projects with the intention of creating more jobs for local people. In recent years, 12 businesses have already done just that through the Investment Fund, and in doing do have created or safeguarded 380 local jobs.
Laila’s Fine Foods at Bispham is one of those businesses. They have used two commercial loans to support their growth, increasing the size of the factory to over 90,000sqft and employing 320 people in delivering an increased turnover of £36m.
Any business based in Blackpool can access the fund, as can any business wishing to relocate in the authority area. The project seeking funding should be designed to generate growth and business improvement that will lead to new jobs. Another benefit of this fund is an individually-negotiated repayment plan, although loans are offered at commercial rates. Final decisions on funding are made by a Blackpool Council panel.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, Leader of Blackpool Council, said: “Recent cuts to our budget means that the only way that we can continue to protect local services is to stop relying on central Government grants and start growing our own income.
“The best way of doing that is to invest in our businesses and 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.”
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