NatWest and RBS add £150m to Leisure Fund following demand from industry

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Finance

The Leisure Fund now totals £300m with 260 loans worth £160m already agreed
The Leisure Fund now totals £300m with 260 loans worth £160m already agreed
NatWest and RBS have added an extra £150m to their hospitality-dedicated Leisure Fund after receiving what they said was 'incredible demand' from the industry.

The available funding, which is for all SMEs within the restaurant, hotel and pub sectors, now totals £300m with 260 loans worth £160m already agreed.

Andrew Taylor, head  of leisure for commercial banking at NatWest and RBS said since May, when the funding scheme launched, it had attracted 'incredible interest'.

“We listened to the needs of our leisure customers and designed the fund specifically to support the needs of this particular industry. Its success so far proves the real desire for investment and growth and we are dedicated to continuing our support of leisure businesses," he said.

“It is also really encouraging that the funding has not just gone to a handful of large businesses, but to a wide range of clients around the country totalling over 260 loans.” 

Generating demand 

Hotels have generated the largest demand for the fund so far, borrowing around £90m, followed by restaurants and pubs.

Regionally, the South West has seen the most interest with around £49.9 m, followed by the Midlands and South East of England with £37.4m, the North with £29.7m, London and South East with £35.4m and Scotland with £10.1m

Minister for Tourism Helen Grant welcomed the news.

She said: “The tourism sector has a major part to play in our economic growth strategy, as it supports local jobs and businesses across the country. 

"It is great to see such positive take-up from the NatWest and RBS Leisure Fund and a further £150m being added with many hotels looking to benefit and drive growth. I hope the scheme continues to go from strength to strength.”

Funding for Growth

VisitEngland, which was involved in the development of the Leisure Fund,​ said it was delighted with the response so far.

VisitEngland chief executive James Berresford said: “It is great to see that leisure businesses across the country are taking advantage of this opportunity.

"It is vital that our tourism businesses have the opportunity to invest in their products if the industry is to thrive and grow. The positive take up of the fund so far demonstrates the industry is hungry to invest and I am delighted that NatWest and RBS has taken such steps to help support the leisure industry.”

Taylor will also be taking part in a discussion at the Annual Hotel Conference in Manchester later today entitled Funding for Growth.

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