Leisure industry gets a loans boost to stop investment lag

THE UK’s leisure industry is being offered £150m in fee-free loans to stop it falling further behind in investment.

NatWest and RBS are today launching the Leisure Fund after research showed nearly a third of businesses in the sector felt they had not invested enough last year to stay competitive.

The study, which questioned small-to-medium sized firms in the sector, found 30 per cent felt they had not ploughed enough money in, even though 55 per cent felt refurbishment or new equipment would help them.

The research also showed that although 2012 was confirmed as the second wettest year in the UK’s history, 74 per cent of leisure businesses had not made any additional allowances for bad weather conditions this summer.

The new fund comes with two six-month capital repayment holidays to give firms a breather.

“Competition in this sector is fierce, so those putting off short term investment can quickly find they need to make larger investments, or face being left behind,” said Andrew Taylor, head of leisure for commercial banking at NatWest and RBS.

“The leisure industry generates around £97bn of GDP and nearly two million jobs – it is vital for the UK economy and needs the right support from banks to grow.”