By Max Clarke

London’s Mayor Boris Johnson has increased Tottenham and Croydon’s regeneration fund by £20 in a bid to hasten enterprise growth in the riot damaged wards.

The £20m Government funding announced today brings the total of the Mayor's fund to regenerate London's businesses hit by the riots to £70m.

"We will rebuild and repair every part of our city that has been damaged and help London's businesses get back on their feet,” said Johnson.

The ‘London Enterprise Fund’ will be invested by the Mayor to specifically focus on the regeneration of Tottenham and Croydon, which had already been identified as regeneration priorities by Boris Johnson before they were appallingly damaged during the disturbances.

Continued Johnson: “it is vital we also use the opportunity to deliver long term improvements and create new jobs and skills that will benefit these communities for generations to come.”

Voicing her scepticism of the fund, however, is Tracy Ewen, Managing Director at independent commercial finance specialist, IGF.

“Isn’t this fund somewhat similar to the £20 million fund that was given to the banks to distribute to the small business market? Of course, it is absolutely vital to provide financial help to these small businesses straight away, not least because cash starvation will cause the demise of many businesses, but as yet, no details have been communicated as to how soon access to the fund will be given or what criteria will be imposed in order to receive assistance.”

“Delaying HMRC payments and deferring council tax is all well and good, but what proposals are the Government outlining for repayment?

"Doesn’t this sound similar to the story at the start of the credit crunch when businesses were given repayment holidays and time to pay, only to be told later down the line that they must bring the arrears up to date or risk prosecution? Firm guidelines must be communicated so that small businesses can make an informed choice about their borrowing and cash requirements. My advice would always be talk to advisors to plan cashflow for the next few months, rather than fire-fighting on a day to day basis.”

The Mayor and his team will work closely with local people, local businesses and the local Councils to identify the best ways to invest the Government's money to maximise the regeneration impact in these two town centres. The funding is designed to provide swift improvements so allocation of money could include investment in transport infrastructure, buying up and rebuilding affected properties and funding business rate relief as well as supporting employment.

This additional money follows the launch last week of the Mayor's £50 million regeneration fund for London to help make major long-term improvements to the capital’s town centres and high streets that have been damaged. The Mayor’s regeneration fund aims to build on the momentum created as repair and rebuilding work begins and will ensure the affected areas are not only restored but are also returned as places that are better than before to live, work and invest in.

Both the Mayor and the Government's regeneration funds are in addition to the Mayor's existing £50 million Outer London Fund, designed to grow economic activity and drive employment in parts of London that are benefitting less directly from major infrastructure improvements like Crossrail and the 2012 Games.


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