Councils in the Leeds City Region set up their “Revolving Investment Fund (RIF)” at the end of June last year, putting £10m in a pot and calling for businesses to put forward requests for loans for stalled commercial projects, particularly in housing and construction.
It was expected at the time that the first projects would receive investment from the fund’s £10m first phase at the end of last year, when a second phase would be launched.
But now a report from Leeds City Council – which manages the fund on behalf of the other councils – says that while there has been “a degree of interest”, no funding applications have been approved yet.
So they’re signing up £120,000* worth of outside expertise this year from the banking sector to help promote and develop the fund.
A tender went out last week looking for bids from providers who can offer “key personnel with a senior banking background and level of expertise to advise the … Fund in relation to commercial investment and lending”.
Without the expert external input, the report says, “there are risks that the development of the RIF may be frustrated, and that if any investment opportunities are forthcoming the Council/LCR/GP not able (sic) to efficiently and effectively analyse the particular opportunity and/or approves an investment without having applied the necessary degree of vigilance”.
(* while the report puts the value of the 12-month contract at “£100,000 or less”, the tender says its estimated value is £120,000)