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Monday, 9th July 2018
 
 
SME News
 
 

FINANCE

 

BBB backs Barclays introduces cash-back scheme

The British Business Bank’s ENABLE guarantee programme has provided Barclays with the opportunity to offer SMEs a new cash-back scheme for flexible asset finance. An initial £300m has been made available to enable more SME hire purchase and leasing, with companies benefitting from 0.25% cash-back on finance of over £10,000. Karl Nolson, head of global lending group at Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “We want to help SMEs grow more quickly. By collaborating with the British Business Bank we can now offer cashback to clients, boosting their cash-flow and encouraging them to invest in assets that will drive their business forward.”

Specialist Banking The Financial

 

£5.9bn invested in UK SMEs in 2017

Nearly £5.9bn of equity was invested in UK SMEs in 2017, according to the British Business Bank’s Small Business Equity Tracker. Total equity investment is now 50% higher than the previous peak in 2015, though investment declined in 2016. Keith Morgan, CEO at British Business Bank, said: “After a weaker 2016, the UK’s SME equity finance market saw a record year of growth in 2017 with investment amounts soaring to £5.9bn. This is a clear sign of investor confidence in British smaller businesses and their potential for growth.”

Specialist Banking

 

Quantum exceeds £100m in lending to SMEs

Specialist asset finance lender for SMEs Quantum Funding has now provided more than £100m in funding since it launched three years ago. Paul Cunningham, Head of Quantum, said: “We are proud to have supported SME growth through our close partnerships with more than 200 commercial finance brokers over the last three years. Our average time to provide an underwriting decision is just two and a half hours, with same day pay-outs. Most importantly, we have an experienced broker support team on hand when help is needed.”

Business Matters

 

NorthEdge raises £120m to invest in smaller start-ups

Midlands and north of England private equity fund NorthEdge Capital has raised £120m to invest in start-up businesses, with the intention to focus on firms in the £2m-£10m range.

Financial Times

 

Barclays lifts unsecured lending limits

Barclays has announced that it is to double its cap on unsecured lending to small businesses from £50,000 to £100,000. The bank is also raising the cap on unsecured overdrafts for firms to £50,000, from £25,000.

City AM

 

 

OUTLOOK

 

Fears over government and Brexit driving small business share sales

Small business owners are exiting or selling shares in their business at a rapid rate, according to experts, driven by fears of a Labour government or a disorderly Brexit. Entrepreneurs fear tax changes aimed at the rich from Labour, particularly an end to Entrepreneurs' Relief. Ian Darby, the chairman of Connection Capital, a company that gives investors with at least £25,000 to invest access to owner-managers seeking to sell a share of their businesses privately, says he has experienced "a marked increase over the past 12 to 18 months" in the number of small business owners wanting to sell part or all of their company to de-risk before Corbyn is elected. Jonathan Boyers, who runs corporate finance at KPMG, said: "Prices are brilliant and it probably won't last. If you have a good business to sell, you had better sell it before Christmas."

The Times

 

Number of crowdfunded start-ups failing falls

Figures compiled by the start-up database Beauhurst for The Sunday Telegraph show that one in five companies that raised money through online crowdfunding ended up folding between 2013 and 2015. However, the figures also suggest crowdfunding investment has become less risky over time. Nearly half of those funded in 2013 have failed, compared to 15% of those funded in 2015. Meanwhile, crowdfunding investors have become more likely to make a return, with 10 exits from companies funded in 2015 against two for those backed two years earlier.

The Sunday Telegraph

 

 

BREXIT

 

David Davis resigns as Brexit secretary

David Davis has resigned as Brexit secretary amid a backlash among pro-Brexit Tories against Theresa May’s Brexit proposals. His departure has prompted speculation that more Cabinet resignations could follow. Brexit ministers Steve Baker and Suella Braverman have also quit. Eurosceptic Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg says in a piece for the Telegraph that he will vote against Theresa May’s latest Brexit proposals, describing them as “the ultimate statement of managing decline.” Meanwhile, it has been reported that letters are being sent to Graham Brady, Chairman of the influential 1922 Committee, calling for a no-confidence vote in the Mrs May. Writing in the Telegraph, Theresa May insists that agreement made at Chequers will honour the EU referendum “and sets us on a prosperous course”.

Financial Times The Daily Telegraph The Daily Telegraph The Times Daily Mail, Page: 2 The Daily Telegraph

 

Tech and financial sector disappointed with Brexit blueprint

Theresa May’s “goods-only” Brexit deal risks a reduction in EU market access for Britain’s technology companies, Julian David, chief executive of TechUK, has warned. His concern was echoed by financial services leaders. Catherine McGuinness, policy chief at the City of London Corporation, said: “We are very concerned it should cover services as well as goods, and include mutual market access and mutual recognition. We want something credible that we can start negotiating on.”

The Sunday Times

 

 

BUSINESS RATES

 

Councils give shops just £21m in rates relief a year

Analysis by the Altus Group consultancy reveals that local authorities are failing to use their powers to reduce business rates for struggling local shops. There were only £21m of reductions in this financial year - or 0.08% of the predicted total £24.8bn rates bill in England. Sam Dumitriu, of the Adam Smith Institute, said: “Councils would rather prioritise their chief executives' salaries over lessening the burden on businesses. There needs to be quite radical reform of rates to support businesses.” Mike Cherry, chairman of the FSB, added: “Local authorities must get to grips with the dire situation currently sweeping the high street and start backing hard-working retailers being hit hard by crippling rates bills.”

Daily Mail

 

Cutting business rates is not the solution to high street woes

Paul Johnson, the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, says in the Times that abolishing business rates is not the answer to the problems facing high street stores. He suggests that a cut in rates will just lead to an increase in rent, benefitting the biggest landlords in the country. Revaluations need to be more frequent, he continues, arguing that agricultural business should not be exempted from business rates. Taxing the owners of properties rather than the tenants would be a good idea too, he asserts. Meanwhile, figures from real estate adviser Altus Group show that nearly 200,000 businesses were hauled before magistrates because they were unable to keep up with their business rates payments in 2017-18.

The Times Daily Express

 

 

SUPPORT

 

Yorkshire Bank teams up with Leeds Beckett to back young firms

Leeds Beckett University and Yorkshire Bank have announced a new partnership that will offer bespoke support to businesses based within the university’s Business Centres, which are located in Leeds, Halifax and Wakefield. Simon Wright, head of customer banking centres for England, at Yorkshire Bank, said: "We are committed to working with SMEs at every stage of the business life cycle and, last year, we launched our lending commitment to help fuel growth. We have pledged to lend £6bn to UK SMEs in the three years to 2019, with £900m being earmarked for businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber. We are well on our way to achieving this target, with £305m of funding being given to the region's SMEs in 2017.”

Yorkshire Post

 

 

FINTECH

 

Insuretech disruptors shaking up the industry

The Times’ Carol Lewis meets some of the insurance industry disruptors which she says are bringing better, faster, customer service at a reduced cost. Tobias Taupitz, chief executive of Laka, which offers insurance to cyclists, says the “model is broken”. His company describes itself as crowd insurance and demands no upfront premiums while customers share the cost of claims between them. New York-based Lemonade uses AI on an app-based system which boasts of issuing policies in 90 seconds and processing claims in three minutes. The firm also donates about 40% of its revenue to charities chosen by customers.

The Times

 

Moneybox breaking the wealth management mould

UK micro-investing app Moneybox has secured £14m in funding as it aims to develop new products and help the next generation become better investors. The fintech start-up, which allows people to set up a stocks and shares Isa on their phone in minutes, providing they have online banking, a NI number and £1 to get started, has raised a total of £21.3m to date.

The Daily Telegraph

 

 

TAX

 

New taxes making the UK a harder place to do business

City AM looks at how much more complicated the UK tax system has become since the financial crisis. New research from UHY Hacker Young shows that since 2008/9 a total of eight new major new taxes have been levied, including the sugar tax, the diverted profits tax, the bank surcharge and the apprenticeship levy. It’s not just the costs of the taxes but the complexity of the system that should cause concern, the paper says. Darren Grimes of UHY Hacker Young explains: "Every new tax [following] the credit crunch sounds superficially attractive with admirable ends, but every new tax makes the UK a harder place to do business and helps put off inward investment."

City AM

 

 

PROPERTY

 

Record levels of buy-to-let loan offers

Despite recent tax and regulatory changes, the number of buy-to-let deals available for first-time landlords has reached a record high, according to financial researchers Moneyfacts. There were 1,268 such loans on the market at the beginning of July, a 13% increase from 1,123 in January. A year ago there were 1,034 loans available.

The Daily Telegraph The Times

 

 

INFRASTRUCTURE

 

£25m for mobile ‘not-spots’ in Highlands and Islands

The Scottish Government has agreed a £25m contract with WHP Telecoms to eradicate mobile “not-spots” in the Highlands and Islands. The firm will begin work on 16 locations this year, with a further 60-70 to be targeted throughout the rest of the programme, which runs to 2022. Stuart MacKinnon from the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland welcomed the news, noting that: “Good mobile coverage, especially data coverage, is increasingly important to smaller businesses and their customers.”

The Sunday Times

 

 

TRADE

 

Santander to host China trade mission

Santander is to take 15 UK-based SMEs that produce mother and baby products to Shanghai later this month as part of the bank’s drive to help British businesses seize the "big opportunities" that are available outside Europe.

Sunday Express

 

 

ECONOMY

 

Falling business confidence keeps growth sluggish

The British Chambers of Commerce’s second-quarter survey indicates only a modest pick-up in activity, with confidence falling along with investment intentions. The poll showed that the balance of firms enjoying increased sales picked up slightly in the second quarter, with a balance of 23% of services firms selling more, but forward-looking indicators were weaker, the BCC said.

The Times City AM

 

Trump wants zero-tariff trade deal with UK

The US ambassador to the UK, Robert 'Woody' Johnson, has said Donald Trump wants to strike a zero-tariff free trade deal with the UK after Britain leaves the EU. He told the Express: “I think it would be bold and why not start off with that premise. The President will put his full energy behind a quick deal.”

Daily Express

 

 
 
 
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