Request for Financial Assistance
- Meeting of Cabinet, Monday, 30th September 2019 10.00 a.m. (Item 41.)
- View the background to item 41.
Councillor Tony Jones introduced a report which sought the Cabinet’s approval to provide a grant to enable the company named in Appendix 1 to the report to diversify, expand and create jobs, in line with the objectives of the Council’s Business Investment Fund and Wirral Growth Plan.
It was reported that Appendix 1 contained commercially sensitive project and company information. Accordingly, it had been deemed to be exempt from disclosure under Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended). (Minute No. 45 refers.)
Members noted that applications for Business Investment Funding were considered by the Council’s Wirral Waters Programme Board, comprising of senior officers from the Council’s Regeneration, Legal, Strategic Transport, Place and Investment and Finance Departments. Applications were assessed against criteria including reviewing the plans and proposals for compliance against the objectives as well as the deliverability of the project and future sustainability. This process included an assessment of outputs in respect of employment opportunities, investment leveraged, and the degree of financial support requested.
The Cabinet was informed that the company had an ambitious business plan for its Bromborough operation, which stated that its main objective over the next three years was ‘growth in turnover and diversification of the customer base [to] provide a greater contribution to fixed overheads and so deliver significant profit improvements’.
The company currently employed 121 FTE staff at its Bromborough site. If successful in securing Business Investment Fund, the company had forecasted that they would employ an additional 10 FTE posts by 31 March 2020 and a further 10 posts by 31 March 2021. In delivering this project, the future of the company and the current FTE would be increasingly secure.
The Cabinet noted that grant funding would enable maximum benefits realisation for this project. The applicant had explained that without the grant, it would have to scale back the project to reduce the call on its working capital. The applicant had stated that it was likely that it would not enter into the lease of two additional commercial units in order to free up working capital to repay hire purchase costs. The company would consider building new rooms in its current premises, without recommended upgrades which could jeopardise their industry accreditation.
The offer of financial assistance, if agreed, would be made to the company subject to a legal contract being put in place between the Council and the company as the applicant.
This matter was not a key decision.
Councillor Tony Jones reported that the Council was committed to create an environment where local businesses could and would thrive and grow. The Business Investment Fund accelerated the growth of the Borough’s Small and Medium Businesses and created jobs for local residents. It also sent out the right signals that Wirral was open for business. Awarding this grant would support a company with a track record of delivering growth and employment in Wirral to reach new markets and to employ an additional twenty full-time staff in good quality jobs. This was, therefore, a good investment.
(1) a grant in the sum of £181,000 be paid from the date of the signing of the legal agreement, subject to the conditions outlined in the report, towards the business growth project being undertaken by the company named in Appendix 1 of the report; and
(2) the Director of Governance and Assurance be authorised to draw up and sign a legal agreement between the Council and the business subject to the conditions outlined in the report.