Bad loans by Kent County Council to firms double

Premier Inn Tunbridge Wells

The county council has seen the amount of money it has lost through lending to small business double in a year, new figures have revealed.

The authority has been forced to write off more than £3million in interest-free loans after the number of firms it lent money to, and subsequently went bust, more than doubled to 17 since last September.

Previous figures recorded £1.5million in bad loans over the previous period in 2014/15.

Most of the money lent by Kent County Council through its interest-free loan schemes was awarded through the Government’s regional growth fund, which was established in 2010.

So far the authority has lent out just over £53million through a variety of schemes, the majority of which has been earmarked for the east of the county through its Expansion East Kent programme.

The figures, which were obtained by the publication Kent Business, showed a total of 283 companies have received loans.

Kent County Council said it had initially expected a 20 per cent failure rate on loan repayment and was pleased it was below that level, although its Business Investment Chief Jacqui Ward noted the rise in bad debt was ‘disappointing’.

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