Chancellor commits additional £100m to Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund

Catherine Lewis La Torre

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a further £100m allocation for British Business Bank’s Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund (NPIF) as part of his Spending Review, bringing the total for investment to more than £500m.

NPIF was launched in February 2017 and recently passed its £200m milestone, having directly invested £200m into more than 700 Northern-based SMEs in deals that have attracted an additional £232m of investment from the private sector.

An early evaluation of NPIF found that funding has increased employment, improved skill levels, and increased turnover and innovation for portfolio businesses, leading to overall improvements in productivity.

NPIF funding has enabled these businesses to scale up through new product launches, expand into new global markets and further invest in staff and infrastructure.

It offers various funding options, including microfinance solutions between £25,000 and £100,000, debt finance between £100,000 and £750,000, and equity finance up to £2m.

Regionally, NPIF has reached a series of milestones in recent months, including £30m investment in Lancashire and £30m in Liverpool City Region, and now supports almost one in five equity deals across the North.

Catherine Lewis La Torre, British Business Bank chief executive, said: “The Chancellor’s announcement of additional funding for NPIF today is a real boost for businesses in the North and the partners working hard to support them.

“It also underlines the bank’s commitment to the Levelling Up agenda, with the Government making it a strategic priority to ensure investment is going into businesses across the whole of the UK.

“Having recently passed its £200m milestone, NPIF has demonstrated a strong track record of supporting small businesses across the North, and will continue to be a key player contributing to the UK’s economic recovery.”

Roger Marsh, of the NP11 and NPIF Strategic Oversight Board, said: “This is excellent news for NPIF and demonstrates the benefit of the Local Enterprise Partnerships across the North working together to deliver a shared vision of growth and prosperity.

“I am particularly pleased that the Government recognises the potential of the North to contribute to the economic recovery as we rebuild the Northern economy.

“This additional funding, which takes the fund to over £500m, will be crucial in supporting small businesses across the North as they continue investing in innovation and skills.”

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.