Business fuel rate increased by up to 3p per mile from June…

HMRC has published new advisory fuel rates effective from June 1 for company car drivers.

The fuel reimbursement rates have been increased by up to 3p per mile to reflect record pump prices.

The increase in advisory fuel rates comes after the last change in March left employees short-changed within days of being published, having been set before pump prices reached a record high that month.

The new rates from June 1 for petrol company cars have all increased, with the advisory fuel rates for petrol vehicles up to 1.4L now 14p per mile, up from 13p per mile.

Petrol vehicles with an engine sized from 1.4L-2.0L increase by 2p per mile, from 15 to 17p per mile, and those over 2.0L have seen the biggest increase from 22p per mile to 25p per mile.

It is a similar story with diesel rates. The diesel rate for company cars with an engine size of more than 2.0L has been increased by 3p per mile, from 16 to 19p per mile, while the advisory fuel rates for diesel cars up to 1.6L increase from 11p per mile to 13p per mile.

The advisory fuel rates for diesel vehicles with an engine from 1.6L-2.0L have also increased by 3p per mile, from 13 to 16p per mile.

To get further information about this news story, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk, call 0115 958 6872 or fill in an enquiry form below.

UK farming inflation soars to levels not seen in decades…

Inflation in the farming industry has soared to high levels, with experts predicting it will continue.

New agricultural business figures from Andersons for April show that inflation now stands at 30.6% for the industry.

Since the turn of the year, inflation in agriculture, or ‘agflation’, has been rapidly increasing, driven primarily by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and global supply chain issues.

Due to both countries being major agricultural powerhouses, the conflict has had the biggest effect on feed, fuel, and fertiliser prices.

These underpin most of the agricultural production costs, and costs are also increasing elsewhere, such as contracting, crop protection products and building materials.

Many farm businesses are now feeling a severe squeeze on profit margins, with inflation expected to remain in the short-to-medium term.

The CBI, which represents British businesses, said it is ‘critical’ that the government offers more support to people facing hardship in this ‘historic’ squeeze.

If your business is looking to unlock capital or raise cash to purchase new agricultural equipment, you can contact us on 0115 958 6872 or email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk

UK inflation rises to 7% in April 2022…

With UK inflation rising to 7% in April, consumers are facing the highest rate since 1992.

Increased fuel, energy and food prices are continuing to put pressure on businesses and households across the UK.

So, why has inflation risen so drastically?

It can be drilled down to a number of factors, both socio-political and environmental, and range from fuel costs to VAT rates.

Fuel costs are the biggest contributor, with average prices of fuel rising by 12.6p between February and March – the largest rise in monthly costs since records began.

From 1 April, approximately 18 million houses also saw their fuel bills jump from £1,277 to £1,971.

VAT is going up for some businesses, too.

During the pandemic, the UK government reduce VAT rates for hospitality and tourism firms as a means of support, but since 1 April, rates have returned to the standard 20%.

Other rates increasing include air passenger duty, vehicle excise duty, postage costs, regulated rail fares, and water bills in England and Wales.

All of this, in addition to higher interest rates brought in by the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to slow the rise in inflation, means that purses across the country are being tightened.

What is inflation?

It’s the measurement of the rate that prices rise over a certain period of time.

For example, if inflation is 7%, it means that prices are averaging at 7% higher than they were a year ago – so a £1 pint of milk would now cost £1.07.

Inflation can rise and fall depending on supply and demand. When the COVID-19 lockdown started, there was a reduced need for fuel. As a result, the price of oil dropped, and petrol became cheaper. This contributed to a fall in the UK inflation rate.

The MPC has a target inflation rate of 2% which is considered healthily low and stable as it allows prices to increase around the same rate as wages – keeping the cost of living affordable.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) works out the inflation by looking at the prices of everyday items known as the ‘basket of goods’ which is consistently updated to reflect social trends and moods.

Will it continue to rise?

In the short-term, probably.

It’s expected that the war in Ukraine will continue to push inflation to around 8.7% in Q4 of 2022 – the highest point since 1982 and pushing costs above even higher.

The Bank of England has also stated that inflation could hit double digits if the energy price cap goes up again in October.

What’s the issue with wages?

Basically put, average pay increases aren’t keeping up with inflation. Figures shown by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows that, while wages rose by 3.8% between November 2021 and January 2022, the rise in inflation means regular pay actually fell by 1% when compared to the previous year.

Is there anything that can be done?

Raising interest rates is the typical response to rising inflation, and this has been done three times in the last few months.

While this could benefit savers, some people with mortgages will see increased monthly repayments.

When borrowing is more expensive, people will have less money to spend. This means that they’ll buy fewer things and prices will stop increasing at such a rapid rate.

However, with inflation currently being catalysed by external factors like the war in Ukraine and global energy prices, increasing interest rates on a regular basis may not be the solution businesses and households need.

If your business is looking to unlock capital or raise cash to purchase new equipment, you can contact us on 0115 958 6872 or email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk.

A pipeline of projects but housing continues to be held back…

The value of schemes approved by local planning authorities rose by 11 per cent in the three months to February.

According to the latest data released by industry tracker Glenigan and new government data, the number of approved commercial planning applications also increased by 9 per cent last year, when compared to 2020.

Published statistics from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) showed that a total of 7,800 applications for commercial developments and offices were approved last year.

This increase comes alongside a 15 per cent annual rise in overall planning submissions in 2021 when compared to 2020, with a sum of 474,100 applications received for residential and commercial builds.

This growth, however, is not replicated in the number of schemes making it onto site.

Research shows that the value of project starts on-site dropped in the three months to February by 17 per cent – more than a quarter lower than the same period in 2021.

Specific sector performances have been described as ‘mixed’, with materials and skills shortages still affecting the industry, along with supply chain issues and geopolitical issues.

The pandemic has continued to hold the industry’s recovery back and the fallout continues to do so. With the added pressure from the Ukraine situation, supply chains are going to squeezed even more – increasing demand and price.
This may mean that contractors look to push back starts until the availability of building products becomes more reliable and cost-effective.

However, it is hoped that the issues look to resolve themselves for Q2 to mirror the pipeline of activity and planning consents.

To get further information about this news story, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk, call 0115 958 6872 or fill in an enquiry form below.

MAF Talks: How the world of renewables and sustainability works…

Our director of renewable energy, Wreide Poole, takes time out to speak about how businesses need to act sooner rather than later when it comes to renewables and sustainability.

The renewables and sustainability topics are fast becoming a crowded marketplace in the funding world.

With lenders all stating their sustainable capabilities, how are we really helping businesses?

Our number one focus for any aspiring breakout leader in this space is helping businesses navigate the complexity and the many moving parts in the sustainability transformation journey.

Day after day I am talking to passionate business owners and looking for ways to improve the way they run their business and embrace change.

The Green Industrial Revolution…

By 2050, the UK government has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero.

According to the most recent Carbon Budget, laws will be adopted to reduce emissions by 78 per cent by 2035. Between 1990 and 2035, this will be the fastest rapid reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of any large economy.

The United Kingdom aspires to be the world’s leader in the ‘Green Industrial Revolution’, and businesses here must engage in carbon reduction techniques to help achieve this aim, meaning they must move quickly to ensure compliance.

So, what can businesses do?

We must first each take personal accountability for our own actions to help combat climate change and reduce our carbon footprint, so we can all contribute to the fight against global warming.

Key to starting any transformational journey is to understand where you are.

A full energy audit is often the best place to get started, and a deep dive into how you use energy throughout your business operational activities is key, as breaking down and categorising the energy demand will help visualise the opportunities for change.

It’s also an excellent opportunity to evaluate your business lean efficiencies. Can you do things different? Can you optimise your operational activities and become slicker? Will this increase productivity?

Ultimately, if you embrace this exercise, you will not only be taking the first steps towards being carbon net zero and sustainably responsible, but you will achieve a clear cost saving on your energy purchase price.

It’s win, win and win.

How to embrace the world of renewables…

Now we understand where we stand from an energy demand and carbon production point of view, it’s clear that businesses need to act, and a major component of the transition to a sustainable business is the adoption of a renewable energy source, but which one?

Well, it depends on your business of course, but for the purposes of this editorial, let’s take an agricultural view and say you are a poultry farmer.

Immediately what do we see? Rooftops, right?

This is perfect for solar and often meets minimal resistance to planning consent as it perfectly complements the footprint of the operation. The impact of introducing this technology will be significant, meaning you will generate your own energy for consumption, and if you are generating more than you need you will be able to create an additional revenue stream by selling the energy you produce to the grid.

And, using our example, an uninterrupted power supply would be crucial for a poultry farm.

Concerns around renewable dependability often come up in any business that operates 24/7, and consuming energy in every hour of every day is a challenge for sure.

So, businesses that operate under this demand should also complement any renewable technology with some battery storage, though this doesn’t need to be a huge expense as there are many solutions available, and they are often introduced as part of your technology system.

Having a power storage unit means you are reducing the risk of downtime, improving uptime guarantee targets and bringing comfort to those within the supply chain.

Renewable energy technology options are broad and specific to your business operation, demand, and feasibility, and it’s important you surround yourself with the right people who have the right knowledge and add value to your transition.

Which technology should you choose?

Here’s a list of the kind of technology being considered by many business owners that I’ve spoken to:

As you can see, renewable energy and sustainability is more than just the lending rate and securing the cash to build something.

It’s bigger than that.

It’s about the benefits to your business, questioning yourself, your team, your supply chain and your customers.

This sustainability journey is a ‘whole of existence’ mindset and doing the right thing for all.

From my professional perspective, it’s about understanding my client’s needs and working with them to help, steer and advise. I enjoy bringing projects to life and providing the right renewable and sustainable support, ultimately helping answer the questions I get asked so frequently like “What does a business have to do to achieve net zero?” and “How does this transition take place?”.

Wreide is our director of renewable energy and has been at MAF Finance Group since late 2021. To contact him for more information, call 07542 849671 or email wreidepoole@maffinancegroup.co.uk.

Interest rates set to rise again to counter higher prices…

For the third time in four months interest rates have increased as the Bank of England tries to calm the rise in the cost of living.

The Bank of England has increased interest rates for the third time this year to 0.75% to counter higher living cost prices.

As the UK economy recovers from COVID-19 and businesses continue to settle into the ‘new normal’, living costs have continued to skyrocket.

Source: Bank Of England

The rise from 0.5% to 0.75% means rates are now at their highest level since March 2020, when Covid lockdowns began.

Energy bills and food costs are increasing and with supply chain issues throughout the world, prices could increase further.

The Bank of England has also warned inflation, the rate at which prices rise, may reach 8% and possibly higher, in the coming months.

So, what does this mean for consumers?

About two million households will see an immediate increase in their mortgage payments because of the rise in rates, according to UK Finance.

The increase will add about £26 a month to the cost of a typical tracker mortgage, and £16 to the cost of a typical standard variable rate mortgage.

It also warned that inflation could hit double-digits later in the year if energy prices push up the energy price cap.

To get further information about this news story, emailenquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk, call 0115 958 6872 or fill in an enquiry form below.

Construction industry activity increased since easing of lockdown restrictions…

Tracked Excavator

Construction activity across four major UK cities increased by more than a third in 2021.

Cities like Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Belfast becoming busier than ever with the increase in construction activity.

Developments for residential schemes and homes as well as education and student accommodation also saw a dramatic 23% increase last year.

The level of demand for construction relies hugely on the stages of economic development as well as the structural changes, with commercial projects seeing some of the strongest growth due to high client demand as building projects put off due to COVID-19 were allowed to resume.

Head of Construction at MAF Finance Group, Gary Burns said:

“It is really encouraging to see the plant and machinery finance sectors continuing to grow and getting close to pre pandemic 2019 figures. However, we are still seeing a shortage of new machinery coming into the market, mainly due to production and chip issues and this is reflected in the prices of used equipment.

“The asset finance market is still very buoyant, with plenty of funders wanting to lend money and they are taking a very positive view on the used equipment market.

“There is still a continued push to persuade the government to extend the rules on qualifying investment and machinery within the plant hire sector for the super deduction scheme, and this drive will enable even further growth in the sector.”

To get further information about this news story, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk, call 0115 958 6872 or fill in an enquiry form below.

It’s our birthday…

Sue and Dave Chapman comment on MAF turning 12 years old...

 

Since 2010, Midlands Asset Finance has continued to grow.

When we started the business, we did it with one vision in mind – to help as many businesses, and people, as we possibly could.

We like to think we’ve achieved that, but there’s still so much more to do.

A year ago, we rebranded from Midlands Asset Finance to MAF Finance Group, a decision that was borne from recognition of how much we had grown in such a short time. We’ve gone from a small building in Nottingham to a 50-strong business with relationship managers spread across the UK.

So, here we are, one year on. And what a year it’s been.

We’ve seen some big changes at MAF – none more so than being acquired by Begbies Traynor Group in May 2021 – an extremely proud moment for us, and to be recognised by a company with such influence as BTG was a credit to everyone at MAF.

Looking ahead as the world slowly emerges from the depths of the pandemic, we’re excited.

Businesses in the UK are dusting themselves off after a torrid couple of years and we’re here to help, encouraged by what we’re seeing in the economy, and we’ll continue to help as many people as we can, from the big corporates to the one person and their van.

We also want to give a special thanks to all our customers, funders and employees for all their help this year. It’s been tough, but we’ve come through it stronger than ever before.

We’re looking forward to many more years of success and we can’t wait to see what’s in the future for MAF Finance Group.

Here’s to success.

To get further information about this news story, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk, call 0115 958 6872 or fill in an enquiry form below.

Government to support farmers who wish to leave the industry with the new lump sum exit scheme…

What is the New Lump Sum Exit Scheme?

The new government initiative is set to support farmers who are looking to leave the industry and aims to help create an efficient exit strategy for farmers by providing lump sum payments. 

As part of the deal, farmers will have to relinquish their rights to their property/land and in return are expected to either rent or sell in order to create opportunities for farmers wishing to expand their businesses. 

Signifying the biggest changes to farming in 50 years, this is part of developments that have been set out in the Agricultural Transition Plan, a plan for a fairer system of farming that works in the best interests of farmers now we are outside the Common Agricultural Policy. 

The government has also been working in partnership with industry leaders to establish the New Entrants Capital Grant Scheme to create real prospects for new farmers. The Basic Payments Scheme currently offers poor value for money based on how much land a farmer has, which increases rent and can stand in the way of new applicants. 

What is the process for the Lump Sum Exit Scheme?

With more than 3,000 farmers across the sector testing and trialling the new approach, the Lump Sum Exit Scheme is due to open in April 2022 and the application period will run until the end of September 2022. The payment will be based on the average direct payments made to the farmer for the 2019 to 2021 Basic Payment Scheme years. This reference figure will be capped at £42,500 and multiplied by 2.35 to calculate the lump sum, meaning that farmers could receive up to around £100,000. 

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

“Those of us who grew up with farming know the emotional connection farmers have with their land and the decision to retire or to exit the industry can be extremely difficult and is frequently postponed.”

“The purpose of The Lump Sum Exit Scheme is to assist farmers who want to exit the industry to do so in a planned way and provide them with the means to make a meaningful choice about their future. The Scheme will also free up land for new entrants to farming and those who want to expand their businesses.”

To get further information about this news story, emailenquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk, call 0115 958 6872 or fill in an enquiry form below.

New Kickstart Scheme boosts over 100,000 young people’s careers…

UK government’s new milestone scheme sees over 100,000 young people starting jobs nationwide.

Introduced as part of the government’s Plan for Jobs scheme, Kickstart has been a crucial tool for young people across the country to develop new vocational skills, build their confidence and give them an advantage and opportunity on the career ladder.

An enormous range of British employers across all sectors have been happy to help out with the scheme, including well-known firms such as Pinewood Studios, JD Sports, EFL football clubs, Yorkshire Water and SeaGrown, the country’s first offshore seaweed farm.

Over the last month, the Kickstart Scheme has seen over 3,400 young people entering new roles each week, with the scheme having even been extended to allow more young people to use the platform as a means for future vocational success.

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

The Kickstart Scheme provides six-month jobs for young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who are currently claiming Universal Credit and are at risk of long-term unemployment.

Employers face a deadline of the 17th of December to apply to be a part of the scheme and offer positions to the future generations and young people are able to start roles up until the 31st of March 2022.

The Prince’s Trust said:

“Being out of work can be an incredibly difficult experience for young people, knocking their confidence and impacting their employment long into the future.

“At the Prince’s Trust, we are proud to help employers across the UK make the most of the Kickstart Scheme by providing the necessary wraparound support to help thousands of young people excel in their new roles.

“Kickstart is giving many young people the boost they need to build their confidence and skills, and we must keep our foot on the pedal to help even more young people find work and get their lives back on track.”

To get further information about this news story, emailenquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk, call 0115 958 6872 or fill in an enquiry form below.