Bank ‘backs Britain’ as it renews £1.7bn of support for East of England firms

David Atkinson, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Banking Group Picture: DANIEL G

David Atkinson, regional director for the East of England at Lloyds Banking Group Picture: DANIEL GRAVES PHOTOGRAPHY - Credit: Archant

A sauce maker was among the major beneficiaries of £1.7bn worth of loans given out to firms in the East of England last year by one banking business.

Lloyds Banking Group - which has made a pledge to match last year's funding with a further £1.7bn regionally and up to £18bn nationally - lent £450k to Stokes Sauces at Rendlesham, near Woodbridge,

In the case of Stokes, it has meant the business - which makes condiments including ketchup, chutney and jam for major brands in more than 50 countries worldwide - has been able to double its capacity and launch new, recyclable packaging.

The bank, which is pledging to "be by the side of British business whatever the future brings", said it would support entrepreneurs looking to start a new business, micro-businesses seeking to scale-up and small businesses looking at trading internationally for the first time.

It would also support established mid-sized businesses and large, multinational corporations seeking further growth, it said.

The commitment was "despite the continuing challenging economic environment".

"The group is not lessening its backing for British businesses and is on hand to support their growth aspirations," it said.

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The bank's East of England boss David Atkinson said: "There are many fantastic opportunities for East of England businesses to take advantage of in 2020.

"Whether it's investing in more sustainable ways of working, technologies that help to boost productivity, or to expand into new markets - we'll be by their side whatever happens.

"We anticipate lending to be up to £1.7bn to firms across the East of England this year, as we back their efforts to grow and thrive."

As well as supporting businesses' growth aspirations, the bank also supported them in becoming more sustainable.

More than 450 of its relationship managers have undertaken intensive training on climate change and sustainability-related risks and opportunities in collaboration with the Cambridge Institute for Sustainable Leadership.

Chief executive António Horta Osório said in 2020 the bank's commitment to supporting businesses would be "undiminished". "Whatever the future brings, we will continue to support UK businesses as part of our commitment to help Britain prosper."