RBS sets up £150m fund to boost leisure industry

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Royal Bank of Scotland is launching a £150 million fund offering loans to the leisure industry after research showed more than a quarter of businesses fear they are becoming uncompetitive due to a lack of investment.

The bank’s survey of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the leisure industry showed 30 per cent of respondents did not feel they invested enough to remain competitive last year.

More than half said investment in refurbishment or new equipment would make a positive impact on their business. Most firms were optimistic about 2013, and almost half expect to grow their business.

Andrew Taylor, head of leisure for commercial banking at RBS, said: “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.”

The bank’s leisure fund, devised with tourism body VisitEngland, is designed specifically for the industry and comes with two six-month capital repayment holidays, allowing breathing space for investment and contingency planning.