Boris promises £35m fund for London firms

BORIS Johnson will today announce plans for a new £35m fund for London that would provide low-cost loans to the capital’s small and medium–sized businesses, City A.M. can reveal.

“The fund would provide average loans of around £100,000 for each company, and if successful in attracting other funds, could drive growth for around 500 companies,” Johnson is expected to say at today’s official launch of his campaign.

“The funding would be a loan enabling repayments to be used again and again to help more small businesses in London throughout my next term.”

The Conservative candidate will pledge to introduce the fund as soon as possible if he is re–elected, claiming that it would boost London’s economy by allowing existing businesses to grow and hire more people rather than concentrating on riskier start–ups.

Funding would come from the £70m allocated to boost London’s economic growth by chancellor George Osborne in last month’s Budget.

Johnson’s campaign is keen to emphasise that its candidate’s close relationship with the Conservative–led government means that he is well placed to lobby for money from the Treasury.

City Hall plans to work alongside partners such as the Federation of Small Businesses to administer the revolving fund, which would be managed by private–sector fund managers contracted through the London Enterprise Panel.

At the launch Johnson will also promise to increase the number of Business Improvements Districts to assist struggling high streets and boost apprenticeship schemes, saying he can generate up to 250,000 such positions over the next mayoral term.

The current Mayor will also promise to fund 100 paid ‘Mayoral internships’ for young people at the likes of TfL, City Hall and the Met Police.