We arrange funding for specialist manufacturing equipment…

Manufacturing machines

A local kitchen and bedroom manufacturer came to us needing a niche edge bander after their current one fell completely out of repair.

Due to the asset being business critical and the firm being at risk of losing jobs without it, we needed to achieve an exceptionally quick turnaround so they could continue their work.

The business came to us on a Sunday night and within 48 hours, we were able to have both the funds and the asset released.

They were originally going to work with their dealer due to the time-sensitive nature of the transaction, however we were able to comfortably beat the dealer’s APR rate, saving the customer time and money in the process.

The facility was auto approved via one of our funder portals and we had the documents out to the customer on e-sign immediately, meaning they were able to use their new edge bander and get back to work in no time at all.

The facility was completed so smoothly, we have begun discussions with the supplier to work alongside them on our vendor panel.

If you have an enquiry about this story, please emailenquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk, call 0115 958 6872 or fill in an enquiry form below.

Regional angels programme investor scheme introduced…

The British Business Bank has introduced a regional angel investor scheme. 

The British Business Bank has introduced a £150 million Regional Angels Programme, a new investor scheme aimed at “helping reduce regional imbalances in access to early-stage equity finance for smaller businesses across the UK”.

What is the Regional Angels Programme?

As part of Prime Minister Johnson’s Levelling Up plans for the UK, £150 million of the £1.7 billion funds has been allocated to the British Business Bank to provide start-ups and smaller companies outside of London and the Southeast with finance, where they may not have otherwise been able to achieve.

The plans were announced at the Autumn Budget Spending Review 2021, with the £150 million funds being provided over a three-year span.

According to British Business Investments (a subsidiary of the British Business Bank): “The programme seeks to increase the aggregate amount of early-stage equity capital that is available to smaller businesses with high growth potential across the UK.

“It aims to raise the profile and professionalism of angel investment activity and to attract further third-party capital alongside business angels while generating a market rate of return.”

What are angel investors?

An angel investor can be either a person or a group who is looking to invest and work alongside new, innovative businesses to use their business acumen to boost the growth of the business and make a return on their own investment in the meantime.

Angel investors tend to invest in return for an average stake of around 10 and 25 per cent (according to the British Business Bank), but this can be up to a value of 50 per cent in some cases.

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

New shipping tonnage tax reformations…

Shipping companies across the world will be offered tax breaks from April 2022 should they fly the UK’s red ensign flag.

As part of the Autumn Budget review, it was announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer – Rishi Sunak – that any firms flying the historic flag will have a “great chance of joining the UK tonnage tax break scheme” in a push to attract more ships to British shores.

What is the tonnage tax break scheme?

Introduced in 2000, the scheme was implemented to allow shipping companies an “alternative method of calculating corporation tax profits by reference to the net tonnage of the ship operated”.

The scheme allows businesses to pay lower taxes and ensures the rates are more predictable. The new reformations also reduce the lock-in period from ten years to eight years – running more smoothly with shipping cycles.

HMRC will also be given further authority to allow firms into the scheme outside of the official window should there be good reasoning. They will also begin a review of the qualification process to ensure the tax scheme is up to date with the current market and technologies.

The question has been raised as to whether the current amount of claimable capital allowances for firms leasing ships to members of the regime should be increased, meaning another new development in the scheme is the review of ship management by the government

Why now?

Previously, as part of the European Union, ships only had to fly the flag of a European country of choice to qualify for the scheme. Now, in line with Brexit, the government has decided to increase the power of the UK flag, and “reward companies for adopting the UK’s merchant shipping flag, the Red Ensign”.

The government’s stance on reducing the country’s carbon footprint is also a contributing factor. Any ships contributing to the UK’s net zero goals will also have access to the tonnage tax scheme, including vessels such as those laying cables to create windfarms and scientific research craft. Cruise ships will also be considered for the scheme.

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

The treasury to provide £7 billion in funding for transport outside of London…

The Government is providing £7 billion in funding to improve transport outside of London.

Prior to the 2021 Autumn Budget Review last Wednesday, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that £7 billion in transport funding will be allocated to devolved areas outside of the capital such as Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, and the West Midlands.

What is this for?

The funding was announced in line with the government’s plans to pioneer the “green industrial revolution”, with British transport pioneering the cause. The government hope this funding will bring transport quality around the country up to the standards of the capital and encourage the population to more and more use public transport and reduce the nation’s carbon footprint with less cars on the road.

A total of £1.2 billion of the funds will be applied through projects such as tram and infrastructure improvements intended to emulate London’s transport efficiency. This funding will also go towards quickening journey times, increasing transport services and reducing fare prices.

£5.7 billion will also cover transport settlements for the areas.

Who does this affect?

In line with the government’s newly allocated Levelling Up Funds, local authorities were able to put forward bids for funding to enhance and improve their local areas in a push to lessen regional inequality.

As part of their Levelling Up Fund submission, Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham, requested £1 billion of transport funding from the treasury. They have been allocated £1.07 billion.

Mr Burnham stated: “As welcome as it is, infrastructure investment alone will not make levelling up feel real to the people of Greater Manchester. That will only happen when the frequency and coverage of bus services are increased, and fares are lowered to London levels.

“So, we are now hopeful that the Government will soon build on this foundation and match this allocation with revenue funding to make our Bee Network vision a reality.”

Mr Burnham’s proposed Bee-Network will see buses returning to public control, ensuring Greater Manchester will be the first region outside of London to regulate their bus system.

Other areas to benefit from the funds;

  • The West Midlands have received the second largest amount of funding, with £1.05 billion being received.
  • £830 million has been provided to West Yorkshire
  • Liverpool City Region has been allocated £710 million
  • £570 million will go to South Yorkshire
  • £540 million for the West of England
  • £310 million will also be used for Tees Valley.

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 reveals investment into brownfield land developments…

The government has revealed that it will be investing £1.8 billion in brownfield land developments to provide housing to “improve communities in line with their priorities”.

During the Budget and Spending Review for Autumn 2021, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, officially announced that these funds would be used to invest in 1,500 hectares of land and this will provide around £1 million worth of housing on this unused land.

The funds will be use for preparing sites for development and installing infrastructure to make the sites accessible and more attractive to live in. they are aiming to deliver around 160,000 new homes with this in mind.

£300 million of grant funding has also been released to local authorities to unlock and develop smaller brownfield housing sites.

Why now?

In recent months, the UK has had a severe issue with a lack of homes on the property market. There are currently five times more buyers than houses on the market in Manchester and there does not appear to be much relief in the pipeline.

With more and more potential homeowners making the decision to rent in current times as a result, this investment and commitment is understood to be aimed at first-time buyers and property investors to buy, not try.

How helpful is this really?

The allocated funds do not appear to have impressed some of the property sector, however.

It has been claimed that the data provided by the government themselves proves that it is an underwhelming achievement from the funds and land available. According to some reports, there are around 36,000 hectares of brownfield land just in England capable of producing over £1.3 million homes.

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

HGV road user levy suspended…

Haulage

Rishi Sunak unveiled plans last week to continue the freeze on the collection of levies for Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) for another year from August 1st 2022.

What does the measure entail?

Initially announced last year, the HGV road user levy was due to expire in August 2022.

Applying to heavy goods vehicles weighing 12 tonnes or more, the levy was originally created in 2014 and was originally aimed to aid with the repair of the road network that these vehicles are damaging to.

Objective of the policy

The government is hoping that the extended freeze of the levy will reduce financial responsibilities and stress for hauliers from the UK and operating in the UK – giving the haulage industry an extra push into economic recovery.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) had written to the Prime Minister, urgently requesting this extension. The letter read as: “while the Government have taken some steps to tackle the crisis, the solutions proposed won’t address the escalating shortage of 100,000 drivers in the short term.”

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

Government introduce new alcohol levy…

As part of the Autumn Budget 2021 Spending Review, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the “most radical simplification of alcohol duties for over 140 years”.

What does this entail?

With aims of simplifying the alcohol duty system the UK has currently, the Chancellor has announced that, from April 2023, the number of alcohol duty rates will be lowered from 12 down to 6 and will follow the premise of “the stronger the drink, the higher the rate”.

Taxes on red wine, sherry and port will rise slightly, while lower alcohol beverages such as rose, fruit ciders and low percentage beers will face less taxes.  

The government will also be cutting the 28% duty premium on sparkling wines and fruit ciders to reflect the UK’s modern day alcohol consumption.

Source: HM Treasury

Mr Sunak stated this reasoning as such: “Over the last decade, consumption of sparkling wines, such as Prosecco, has doubled. English sparkling wine consumption has increased almost tenfold.”

It has also been noted that, in line with modern consumption, sales of fruit ciders have increased from one in a thousand ciders sold in 2005 to one in four in the current day – making the tax cut an obvious choice to keep the industry afloat.

The government has also cancelled the planned increase in duties on alcohols such as wine, cider, beer and Scotch Whiskey, which were supposed to rise last week. This was cancelled at midnight the night before the Autumn Budget.

A Small Brewer Relief has been implemented in the Chancellor’s five-step plan to support small craft producers. This will provide small brewers with a reduced beer duty.

A Draught Relief has also been introduced. This move to support UK pubs, who have suffered greatly throughout the pandemic, will cut duties on draught beer and cider by 5% – applying to drinks over 40 litres.

When does this begin?

While most changes won’t actually kick in until February 2023, the planned increase in alcohol duties was cancelled at midnight the night before the review last Wednesday and have since been frozen.

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

New residential development tax introduced…

The government will be introducing a new tax on larger residential property developers to provide funding towards the prevention of unsafe cladding.

Who does this affect?

The 4% tax will only affect companies and/or groups of companies carrying out UK residential property development with over £25 million in annual profits.

Properties related to institutional and charitable uses will be excluded from the scheme – due to their communal nature. Build to Rent developers will also be exempt – however this is to be kept under review.  

Objective of the policy

In line with the government’s Building Safety Package, the tax will provide further funding to “bring an end to unsafe cladding, provide reassurance to homeowners and support confidence in the housing market.”

Due to the steep costs related with removing unsafe cladding, the government considers it a fair proposal to have the largest and most prominent property developers to partly aid these funds.

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

Levelling up funds allocated…

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced the allocation of funds from the Levelling Up Fund during the Autumn Budget last month.

With the initiative aimed at tackling regional inequality, around £1.7 billion in funding has finally been allocated from the £4.8 billion promised in 2019 to “level up” all regions nationwide.

A total of 105 areas across the UK have been promised the funding after bidding for improvements to local areas – including investment in culture and heritage, transport improvements and infrastructure upgrades.

Why was this introduced?

Ahead of Prime Minister Johnson’s election in 2019, the Conservative Party finalised a proposal to address the wealth disparities across regions in the UK. While undertaking a study to measure living standards across Britain, the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) found extensive inequality across different areas of the country, and Mr Johnson’s government, as part of their bid for the election, promised to solve this with billions in funding.

When the coronavirus pandemic brought the country to a standstill, the Levelling Up Fund was put on the backburner as a lessor priority. However, the pandemic only appeared to cause a further divide and the severe disparities between regions were highlighted even further.

The Autumn Budget, as presented by Sunak, highlighted a strong push for a return to financial normalcy – including bringing this initiative back to the forefront of the nation’s priorities.

Who does this affect?

The largest single grant has been presented to Derbyshire County Council for the South Derby growth zone and Infinity Garden Village, with the grant worth £49.6 million and expected to provide 4,750 new houses and 5,000 new jobs locally.

The Isles of Scilly have also been allocated £48 million to improve their connection with the English mainland. The funding will focus on restoring the harbours and replacing vessels as the islands rely heavily on sea transport to coexist with the mainland.

The third most substantial grant was provided to Renfrewshire Council, which was offered the largest grant outside of England, allocated for the purpose of funding their AMIDS South travel links improvement project.

The first 21 projects from the scheme will also benefit from £5.3 million of the £150 million community ownership fund, created to assist with managing and protecting key local assets.

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

How do businesses need to prepare for the ending of COVID financial aids?

Government support has been quintessential to supporting businesses throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

With many of these schemes having closed already or facing an impending deadline, except for the Recovery Loan Scheme, businesses are having to find alternative solutions to combat any cash flow issues.

Firms have been taking advantage of government support for over and year and a half since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 and with this becoming the new norm, it is not a simple task to prepare for complete financial independence once again

The UK government has shelled out over £100 billion on protecting jobs and businesses in the last 18 months and the schemes they have spent these on have been many firms’ salvation.

Careful and realistic planning will be a necessity as we enter the ‘recovery era’, as the business and financial worlds have become entirely different worlds pre- and post-pandemic.

Support schemes and when they end…

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the furlough scheme) has arguably been the most impactful of all financial support provided by the government. Giving grants to allow employers to keep their staff during the pandemic saved an enormous number of jobs nationwide. The total value of claims for the scheme was £37.5bn, as it gave employers the cashflow breathing room to retain their staff and carry on their operations without having to make drastic cuts and losses just to stay afloat.

Having ended on September 30 this year, many employers have found themselves having to rejig their finances completely, now having to pay 100% of their staff’s salaries once again – no small feat for any company.

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) was a support for businesses in the UK, having paid nearly £26.39 billion to nearly 110,000 firms in the UK by the time the Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) was introduced. The sister scheme used for larger businesses, CLBILS, paid around £5.56 billion to 753 firms.  The CBILS scheme was introduced as a facility that remained interest-free for the first 12 months, and applications for the scheme ended in March 2021, with many firms having to start repayments in the months after (dependent on term and loan).

The government also introduced a reduced VAT rate of 5% from the pre-pandemic 20% to help keep the hospitality and tourism industry afloat. The rate increased to 12.5% later on in the pandemic and will now return to the pre-pandemic 20% as of March 2022.

A Business Rates Retail Discount was provided to retail properties as a measure of government financial support. This was expanded and applied to the hospitality and leisure sectors to further support their hardships, with the discount now lying at 66% and due to end on March 31, 2022.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant was put in place to protect the self-employed workers who have faced struggles throughout COVID-19. The fifth and final SEISS grant ended September 30, 2021. 

The Recovery Loan Scheme (RLS) has enabled businesses to borrow up to £10m per firm so far and is supported by the government, who guarantee 80% of finance for each facility and ensure there are no personal guarantees required for transactions under £250,000. While this facility was intended to close on the 31st of December, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced in the Autumn Budget on Wednesday that this has now been extended until June 2022, though the guarantee will fall to 70% after January 1, 2022.

Issues to keep an eye out for…

Many businesses are now finding themselves having to repay interest on their government-backed financial facilities from where there has been a year of interest-free payments.

With many businesses having taken out CBILS and other measures, they are now finding themselves in an unfamiliar position of not only having to pay for their usual business costs, but extra costs that may have appeared ‘free’ at the time.

With the inflation in gas prices, the shortage of drivers and the issues with supply chains and even a shortage of CO2, businesses are finding themselves in an even more unknown financial position than before. 

For those businesses that still haven’t fully recovered to their pre-Covid financial position, the timing of these repayments isn’t great and cashflow could be tighter than before the pandemic.

Despite a steady decrease in unemployment over the last couple of months, and a forecast two million less people out of a job this winter than anticipated according to the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) – unemployment still stands at 1.5 million.

That’s almost 200,000 more than prior to the pandemic.

Solutions…

The British Business Bank has introduced a Regional Angels Programme, a new angel investor scheme aiming to “help reduce regional imbalances in access to early-stage equity finance for smaller businesses across the UK”.

The programme has been provided with £150 million so far and will ensure young businesses across the UK will be granted access to the necessary finance to grow their companies.

A newly introduced investment relief will also support investment in property, allowing businesses to make improvements to their properties and not have to pay extra rates from 2023. This falls in line with the government’s push for net zero by 2050 and is hoped to encourage firms to adopt green and renewable energy and technology.

In a further push to encourage a greener Britain, on-site plant and machinery used for renewable energy will be exempt from business rates until 2035.

A 50% discount has also been provided to retail and hospitality businesses in tax – worth up to £110,000 per business for one year, excluding the largest retail chains and outlets.

Sunak has also pledged £500 million in government financial support to aid those leaving furlough or receiving universal credit to find work. Beginning in April 2022, the government will further its support to those already in work, providing access to work coach support with an emphasis on career progression advice.

The Chancellor will also be extending the Job Entry Target Support Scheme (JETS) until September 2022. Designed for those who have been out of a job for over three months, the scheme offers specialist advice on how people can change over into growing sectors with worker shortages.

The programme also provides CV and interview coaching, and having launched in October 2020, over £238 million has been invested to support those without a job due to COVID-19.

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