The fund is to help SMEs take advantage of supply chain opportunities related to the plant’s construction, which is expected to put £200m a year into the local economy and create up to 25,000 new jobs. Launched on 18 May, the fund will give SMEs access to discounted lending to become involved in one the UK’s largest construction projects. Firms across the UK, and not just in the South West of England, will be able to benefit from the fund. Commenting on the new fund, Lloyds Bank’s South West regional director for SME banking, David Beaumont, said: “Whether it’s construction, catering or transport services, our £100m fund and support will ensure that businesses have the financial backing they need to capitalise on this multibillion-pound construction project. “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.” Under the terms of Lloyds’ fund, the bank will waive arrangement fees on lending linked directly to the construction of Hinkley Point C, giving SMEs the financial incentive to bid for new business and supply chain contracts. Lloyds confirmed this will include arrangement fees for loans, invoice finance and asset finance. The lender has also said it will help businesses navigate the tendering and supply chain process for the power station via the fund, directing SME owners to the “Hinkley supply chain team”, consisting of EDF Energy and the Somerset Chamber of Commerce. “This is excellent news and a real fillip for the region,” said chair of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, Greg Saunders. “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.” Businesses that are contracted to provide indirect services to the power plant such as hotels, transport, catering, facilities management and security services, may also apply to use the Lloyds’ fund, the bank said. Existing Lloyds customers can apply via their usual relationship contacts at the bank, to discuss how the funding could help their business and support their working capital needs. Once fully operational, Hinkley Point C will have the capacity to generate electricity to power around six million homes across its anticipated lifespan, providing the UK with low-carbon electricity when older power stations close from 2030.
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