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Bradford businesses invited to apply for loans to kick-start infrastructure projects
Firms in the Bradford district with plans for infrastructure projects have been invited to apply for a cash injection from a £26 million fund designed to kick-start stalled work.
The second round of the Growing Places Fund was announced in Bradford yesterday at a major green business conference staged by the Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.
The fund was unveiled at the inaugural BASE Leeds City Region event hosted by the University of Bradford where key speakers included the former Lord Mayor of London Ken Livingstone.
Businesses across the city region, which includes Bradford, looking to complete infrastructure projects that will create jobs, cut carbon emissions and increase economic growth have until November 1 to apply for loans designed to kickstart such work.
Projects that could qualify include expanding an existing building, creating new access routes to open up land for further economic development or investing in low-carbon infrastructure.
Businesses of any size can submit expressions of interest for loans of between £250,000 and £5 million, with applications from small and medium, businesses particularly welcome.
Projects need to be ready to go with all the necessary permissions in place and be able to demonstrate job creation and economic growth. To be successful, £3 of private finance should be invested for every £1 of loan.
Neil McLean, chairman of the Leeds City Region LEP, said: “Securing a loan through the Growing Places Fund will be a real boon for many businesses. However, the city region as whole stands to benefit from the flow of investment that will follow.
“BASE Leeds City Region was the ideal platform to launch the fund. It has brought together the public and private sectors to work in a more integrated way.
“Such close working and supporting the city region’s businesses through the fund will encourage those businesses to grow in a sustainable way and ultimately help us realise our vision of a dynamic, low-carbon economy.”
The BASE conference aimed to bring together the public and private sectors to focus on practical, innovative ways to allow businesses to benefit from the world-wide transition to a low-carbon economy, projected to be worth £4 trillion by 2016.
Mr McLean said low-carbon businesses were becoming the norm and the event at the University of Bradford was about working more closely together to capitalise on the city region’s assets and creating the conditions for sustainable economic growth.
Speakers at the event included former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone; Communities Minister Andrew Stunell; Steve Wood, IBM vice-president of strategy and Tony Reeves, Bradford Council chief executive.
Visit leedscityregion.gov.uk for more details on the Growing Places Fund.