People are being offered zero interest loans worth thousands of pounds in a town's bid to boost economic activity.

Residents in Bognor will be able to borrow up to £2,000 without any interest after the town council invested tens of thousands of pounds into a financial scheme.

It hopes the economic impact of the loans will offset the taxpayers' money used to pay for the scheme more than 70 times over - and even help save people from going to loan sharks.

The town council has partnered with not-for-profit community bank Boom for the scheme with plans to help those facing barriers accessing traditional credit. Repayments can last between one and three years.

Deputy council leader Roger Nash told The Argus that Bognor Regis Town Council gave £30,000 to the bank for the scheme.

He said: "The target audience is people who are struggling financially and who, if they need a loan for a new boiler or fridge, cannot get a loan from big banks and therefore might fall prey to loan sharks or other lending options where they have to pay eye-watering APRs.

"The council is offering this as a way to help alleviate economic hardship in the town - we do not make any money from this.

"For every £10,000 given, it is calculated that this produces £750,000 of extra economic activity in the area with people spending money in local shops and services. It becomes a win-win for everyone."

Cllr Nash said that while approximately ten per cent of the loans are expected to default the town council will refresh the fund to ensure it maintains its value.

Similar schemes have already proved successful across Sussex in towns such as Worthing.