MORE than 1,600 jobs could be created around South Yorkshire under plans to set up an £11 million fund providing loans for small and medium businesses to grow.
Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, made up of local councils and business representatives, has applied for the cash from the latest round of handouts to be made next month by the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.
The area covered includes the whole of South Yorkshire, North Derbyshire and North Nottinghamshire.
In its submission to the Government, Sheffield LEP said its proposed Employment Growth Programme would invest in more than 200 companies to begin with, to create 1,600 jobs and preserve a further 800 posts.
Money repaid could then be loaned again to further companies.
Sheffield City region LEP proposes to distribute the funding in three different ways.
It said: “The objectives of the programme are to invest in 70 companies within the city region that have growth and employment expansion plans to deliver 1,043 new jobs and safeguard a further 250 jobs.
“It would also be used to accelerate the business growth of 150 companies by delivering development assistance to deliver 150 jobs and safeguard a further 400 jobs.
“A further aim would be to help very small companies to grow, to deliver 150 new jobs and safeguard a further 150 jobs.”
Sheffield Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for finance Coun Bryan Lodge said: “Following Sheffield receiving no investment from the first round of the Regional Growth Fund, the new administration has worked with the LEP to bid for investment for the Employment Growth Programme, an £11 million scheme.
“It would improve access to capital for local businesses given the problems they have faced accessing credit.”
But a Lib Dem proposal to create a Sheffield Investment Fund, which would be administered by the council and could be invested in by individuals and firms, with the money then lent to companies to help them grow, was ruled out by Labour.
The opposition party’s motion proposing the policy was defeated by ruling Labour councillors.