Lloyds Bank has created a £100 million fund to help small businesses take advantage of supply chain opportunities in the construction of Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset.
The fund will help small to medium-sized enterprises in the South West (as well as the rest of the UK) access discounted lending and become involved in one of country’s biggest investment and construction projects.
It is estimated that construction of the multi-billion pound nuclear power station will put £200million per year into the regional economy and provide over 25,000 job opportunities.
Small businesses can apply to the fund which will waive arrangement fees on lending directly linked to the construction of Hinkley Point C and give them the financial backing to bid for new business and supply chain contracts. This includes arrangement fees for loans, invoice finance and asset finance facilities.
The fund can also be used by businesses that provide indirect services to the power plant through an agreed contract such as hotels, transport, catering, facilities management and security services.
The bank will also be helping businesses navigate the tendering and supply-chain process and wil be directing companies to the Hinkley supply chain team, which consists of EDF Energy and the Somerset Chamber of Commerce.
David Beaumont, South West regional director of SME banking, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Hinkley Point is a huge investment for the South West and the UK and we want to help small and medium-sized businesses take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the supply chain.
“Whether it’s construction, catering or transport services, our £100million fund and support will ensure that businesses have the financial backing they need to capitalise on this multi-billion pound construction project.”
Greg Saunders, chair of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is excellent news and a real fillip for the region.
“Many local businesses have already secured contracts at Hinkley Point C and this investment from Lloyds will only go to give other businesses further confidence in their strategic decision making regarding seeking business from this vast project.”
Once fully operational the plant will have the capacity to generate electricity to power around six million homes across its anticipated lifespan and ensure that the country has enough low-carbon electricity when the UK’s older power stations are expected to close from 2030.
Businesses can apply through their usual relationship contacts to discuss how the funding could help them and support their working capital to unlock cash and make the most of growth opportunities.