Opportunity knocks for Yorkshire
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Barry Dillon believes there are “huge opportunities” for financial services companies to drive Yorkshire’s further economic growth.
He is Yorkshire regional development director at Together – a specialist lender, offering short-term finance, auction finance, personal, commercial and buy-to-let mortgages and secured loans.
Dillon points to the region’s strengths, including its leading universities, law firms and other professional services companies.
He said: “The UK financial sector contributed £119bn to the UK economy last year – 6.5 per of the total economic output. However, 50 per cent of this output was from London with a contribution of seven per cent – or £5.5bn – from the Yorkshire and Humber region.
“Although a strong London economy is good for the regions, there’s still work to be done to narrow the gap between the capital and Leeds.
“We believe this can be achieved through strong leadership from authorities in the Northern Powerhouse, and by nurturing the strong entrepreneurial spirit which already exists in the city and the wider region, by making finance available for businesses to thrive.”
Dillon adds: “We’ve seen phenomenal growth in our financial services operation across the UK since our business was founded 44 years ago and, earlier this year, announced record lending levels, with our loan book standing at £2.78bn in March.
“This success has been achieved by steadily expanding our commercial and residential lending across Leeds, Yorkshire and the UK, to make sure that individuals, companies and SMEs have access to finance, sometimes in more complex circumstances, and in situations where banks may be reluctant to lend.
“For instance, there may be opportunities for a developer to buy premises which are out-of-the-ordinary, such as flats above a shop, or former office blocks, which they want to change into apartments.
“We also provide development funding to kick-start construction projects which otherwise might not happen, and short-term loans for business acquisitions or to release capital, among many other purposes.”
He adds: “The economic outlook remains mixed, with continued uncertainty because of Brexit. However, we are seeing a demand from businesses to finance residential and commercial development and believe this will continue.”