Council makes money available for loans to East Sussex businesses

Businesses in East Sussex could find it easier to access loans thanks to an innovative multi-million pound partnership between East Sussex County Council and NatWest.

This website gave news that such a move was likely in our Business Scene column published on December 1.

We interviewed Cllr Peter Jones, leader of the county council, and asked him how the council was helping businesses through the recession.

He revealed that the idea of the council starting its own “bank” was off limits but said a deal with a commercial lender was likely.

Now he has published details of how the scheme will work.

The county council has agreed to deposit an additional £20 million pounds of its normal cash flow with NatWest.

It will enable the bank to boost lending opportunities for local businesses as the county starts to climb out of recession.

The additional deposit will be subject to the same security as the council's other existing deposits with NatWest and other banks but it enables the bank to increase the amount of money available specifically for lending to East Sussex firms.

Cllr Jones said the decision was a 'win-win' as it did not expose the council and its taxpayers to any additional risk but was another action that the county council was taking to help local firms to battle through the current hard economic times.

 “This is a fantastic scheme that could potentially help many of our firms and help to boost the local economy,” said Cllr Jones.

“It is also a great example of the county council working with one of its own partners, in this case its own banker, to assist the local community.

Read what we said in the December Business Scene column.

* Fletching Parish Council has a new website. It can be seen at http://www.fletching-pc.org.

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