RBS earmarks £1bn for manufacturers

ROYAL Bank of Scotland has set aside £1bn in new loans to help fuel a recovery in the UK's manufacturing industry.

The lender said it had "ring-fenced a fund specifically for the manufacturing sector".

The loans, ranging from £250,000 to £25m, will be offered on "competitive fixed rates and with the option to defer repayments for up to three years".

A spokesman for the manufacturers' trade organisation the EEF said: “Anything that gives the manufacturing sector easier access to finance is welcome."

He added that new plants and technology were needed to stimulate the manufacturing sector.

"Every quarter since the end of 2007, the cost of finance has increased and availability has tightened. The industry has had a pretty poor deal from the banks."

There are around 168,000 manufacturing companies in the UK employing more than 2.5m people.