LLOYDS BANKING GROUP has today announced a new £700m lending commitment for North-East businesses.

The sum is part of the group’s national pledge to lend up to £18bn to UK businesses in 2020.

The funding is available to firms across the North-East and will support entrepreneurs looking to start a new business, micro-businesses seeking to scale-up and small businesses considering trading internationally for the first time.

It will also support established mid-sized businesses and large, multinational corporations seeking further growth.

The pledge is for the same amounts lent nationally and regionally as in 2019.

One firm to benefit was Seaham-based property developer, Clearwater Developments, which received a six-figure funding package last year to transform a historic Sunderland school building into luxury apartments. The development will help the company to generate £2m in revenue.

Elyn Corfield, Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for the North, said: “North-East businesses thrived last year while facing difficult trading conditions.

“Looking ahead to 2020, there’s lots for businesses to feel optimistic about. For example, commitments to the region from major employers like Amazon who are creating 1,000 jobs in County Durham alone, and generating knock-on opportunities for local firms and in the supply chain. We anticipate lending up to £700m to businesses across the North-East this year, as they take advantage of the prospects ahead.”

António Horta Osório, chief executive of Lloyds Banking Group, said: “Whatever the future brings, we will continue to support UK businesses as part of our commitment to help Britain prosper.”