Business owners want to move to electric vehicles ASAP…

EV charger

Nearly all SME business owners in the UK believe that vehicles and wheeled assets should be electric, according to latest studies.

In a survey by Cambridge & Counties Bank, 94% of owners believe that electric vehicles (EVs) should be moved to as soon as possible, with almost half (46%) stating that it should be a priority.

The research comes after a spike in the demand for EVs by both households and businesses in the UK, and the introduction of 0% Business in Kind (BiK) rate relief by the government in April 2020.

With new petrol and diesel vehicles to be banned from 2030 and hybrid vehicles to be banned by 2035, businesses are looking for alternatives to replace fleet and company vehicles – with a focus on reducing carbon footprints.

The UK is currently expected to exceed its annual carbon budget for the fifth year in a row and calls have been issued for stricter budgets as the government looks to become carbon net-zero by 2050.

Around 84% of UK SMEs believe that the introduction of last year’s BiK relief will have a positive impact on EV purchase numbers over the next 12 months, with 68% ‘wholeheartedly’ agreeing with the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel vehicles.

MAF’s Director of Vehicle Management, Chris Leslie, added: “Many of our customers are actively considering this question when developing their future EV strategy, which is quickly becoming paramount. With the future legislation changing and the death of the ICE engine due to be abolished in 2030, as a fleet operator there are a number of things to consider to ensure that you keep in front of the curve.”

If you are looking for finance for your business, need to unlock cash or are thinking about buying an electric vehicle, call us on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form.

* Research among 100 senior decision makers at UK SMEs conducted by PureProfile between the 7th and 16th December 2020

Construction sites can stay open under new lockdown…

Construction finance header

Construction work is still allowed under both Scotland’s and England’s latest lockdown restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled new rules for England that included an instruction to “stay at home”. However, unlike during the restrictions last April, people are allowed to leave home to work in occupations including construction.

The new government guidance states that tradespeople are allowed to continue to work and should only go into a house to carry out or deliver essential work or services. This means that in both England and Scotland construction work is still allowed to operate as normal.

Both Prime Minister Johnson and First Minister Sturgeon have said that extremely clinically vulnerable people should not go to work but as most working sites like construction are Covid-19 secure and may continue to work.

The change in operations for construction comes after the Business Secretary, Alok Sharma , wrote an open letter to the industry about remaining open under the tightest lockdown restrictions.

With many other businesses having to close or reduce working hours, having construction and other working sites open will act as major contribution to the economy in tough times.

Director of Construction Asset Finance, Gary Burns, added:

“Allowing the Construction Sector to remain open and continue to work in a Covid Secure environment enables the ongoing projects to be completed and new ones started, allowing the continued growth in the UK construction and Infrastructure sector.”

“This will also give companies confidence to invest in new equipment to carry out these contracts and allow them to benefit from the CBILS schemes for funding”

You can contact us to chat through your financial situation on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form.

Our team is standing by to help businesses during this difficult time and are here to help you and take the strain off so you can focus on running your business.

£4.6 billion in new lockdown grants to support business…

London the capital of england

The UK Chancellor has announced that businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors are set to receive a one-off grant worth up to £9,000.

 

The support to businesses follows the Prime Minister’s announcement that business will be closed until at least February half-term.

Cash will be provided on a per-property basis to keep businesses afloat over the next seven weeks through the latest harsh lockdown restrictions. The one-off grant is expected to benefit over 600,000 business properties, that could otherwise struggle financially.

The new one-off grants come in addition to existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses.

A further £594 million will be made available for local authorities to support businesses not eligible for the government grants, but might still be affected by the new restrictions.

The government will also provide 100% business rates tax relief for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, while the furlough scheme has now been extended to April 2021 for businesses to take advantage of and £1.1billion existing discretionary funding for local authorities will now become available.

You can contact us to chat through your financial situation on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form.

Our team is standing by to help businesses during this difficult time and are here to help you and take the strain off so you can focus on running your business.

England enters national lockdown

London the capital of england

England will enter a new national lockdown, Boris Johnson has announced, with the Prime Minister urging people to ‘stay at home’.

Revealed in a late TV address on Monday, messaging was akin to the lockdown the country experienced in March last year. 

It is expected that the lockdown, that will be brought into effect immediately, will last until the middle of February at the least, with people across the country being told to avoid leaving home unless absolutely necessary.

The current tiered system will now be replaced with updated rules from this evening.

The five exceptions for staying at home are:

• for work, if people cannot work from home, such as those in the construction sector or key workers
• to shop for necessities such as food or medicines
• to exercise once per day at a local location. This can include with one other person from outside someone’s household or support/childcare bubble
• to provide care or help to vulnerable people
• to attend medical appointments, get medical care or a coronavirus test, or to flee the threat of harm or violence.

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to online learning from tomorrow, but nurseries can remain open while childcare and support bubbles will stay in place.

The news comes after First Scottish Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, put Scotland onto a similar lockdown until the end of January – with the construction and manufacturing sectors remaining open.

You can contact us to chat through your financial situation on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form here.

Our team is standing by to help businesses during this difficult time and are here to help you and take the strain off so you can focus on running your business.

Scottish coach companies to receive additional funding…

Bus on a road

Up to £29m of additional funding has been made available by the Scottish government for its bus services.

The money will be used to cover between 18 January and 31 March and will follow the expiration date of the previous award of up to £52.6m.

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said that says that the money ‘will enable operators to continue to maintain services’ and will ‘fill the gap between the additional costs of running services due to coronavirus COVID-19’.

The news comes five days after calls for the scheme to be continued until the end of the current financial year were made by leading industry voices.

Speaking to the Scottish Parliament’s COVID-19 committee, Alastair Wilson of Wilson’s of Rhu, said that the support had been ‘most welcome’ but the industry will need support as long as social distancing measures are in place.

If you are looking for finance for your business or need to unlock cash, call us on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form here.

Government to allow 30,000 seasonal workers to aid farmers in the UK…

Tractor with crop cultivator

Up to 30,000 seasonal workers from abroad will be allowed to come to the UK to assist with picking and packing on farms.

The ‘Pick for Britain’ campaign saw 8,000 British citizens make up 11% of the workforce in 2020 according to the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), up from 1% in 2019.

However, the government’s extension of the seasonal agricultural workers’ scheme, which will apply to both EU and non-EU workers, will allow three times as many workers as 2020 to come to the UK to pick and pack fruit and vegetables.

The government has also announced their plans to recruit and retain domestic seasonal workers in 2021, while extending the immigration scheme.

Under the scheme, people from overseas will be able to work on farms for up to six months after the Association of Labour Providers (ALP) showed that 70% of farmers and manufacturers expect to struggle to recruit workers in 2021.

Tom Bradshaw, vice president of the NFU, said: “This is welcome and positive news, not just for Britain’s growers but also for shoppers who want to enjoy homegrown fresh produce.

“By expanding the seasonal workers’ pilot, the government is sending a clear message that it is important for Britain to be able to produce its own fruit and veg, which has huge potential for growth.

“This scheme will allow growers to employ seasonal workers at key times to pick a wide variety of fresh produce on British farms.”

If you are looking for finance for your business or need to unlock cash, call us on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form.

Annual Investment Allowance cap increase is extended until 2022…

London the capital of england

The government has announced the temporary extension of the increased cap for the Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) until 1 January 2022.

The AIA cap was increased in 2018 by then-Chancellor Philip Hammond from £200,000 to £1 million in order to try and boost investment, with initial end date of next week on 1 January 2021.

However, due to business recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has extended the increase for another 12 months.

The AIA provides businesses with 100% tax relief on capital expenditure up to £1m in the year of purchase on plant and machinery assets.

It can also be claimed on the construction of certain types of agricultural buildings, such as a temporary grain store.

Who can claim AIA?

The tax relief can be claimed by all businesses, including farmers, that operate as sole traders, partnerships or through other companies.

However, to qualify for the AIA, the expenditure must go towards an asset that falls under the ‘plant and machinery’ sector.

This would include the likes of diggers, tractors and other construction equipment and will also stretch to cover office equipment and transport vehicles – excluding vehicles that can be used for private use.

If you are looking for finance for your business or need to unlock cash, call us on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form here.

Coronavirus Business Loan Scheme deadline extended…

London the capital of england

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme deadline has been extended until March 31, 2021.

Originally having an extended deadline of January 31st, the government announced yesterday that the scheme will now continue for an additional two months.

CBILS provides financial support to smaller businesses (SMEs) across the country that are losing revenue or seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are the terms of a CBILS loan?

Originally, the maximum amount provided under a CBILS facility is £5m with repayments made over terms of up to six years.

This has now been extended to ten years.

Is my business eligible?

To be able to apply for the scheme, you must be based in the UK and have an annual turnover of less than £45 million.

You can still apply if you are a sole trader or freelancer, as long as your business activity is operated through a business account.

Importantly, you must also be in a position where, were it not for the COVID-19 pandemic, you would have been considered a viable candidate for funding from your lender.

You will also need to demonstrate that the CBILS will allow you to trade out of any short or medium-term difficulty.

Are there fees involved?

Under the ‘Pay As You Grow’ scheme, the loans are interest-free for 12 months and the government will also pay any lender fees, meaning no upfront costs are paid.

If your business is struggling to make repayments due to the 2nd wave of COVID-19, depending on your funder, you can opt to make interest-only payments or six month payment holidays can be arranged with no affect on credit ratings.

What if a business already has a Bounce Back Loan (BBLS)?

If you have already received funds from the BBLS programme, but it’s less than 25% of your turnover (up to a maximum of £50,000), you could also still apply if you need additional cash.

When can I apply for a top-up?

Businesses will be able to request a top-up next week – though they can only apply once.

The government-backed 80% guarantee is for the lender, not you/the borrower, and you will remain will remain liable for the debt.

Depending on the lender being used, the scheme may be used for up to £250,000.

If a business wishes to obtain more than £250,000 of funding, the funder will generally look for security to support the request.

Are there alternative routes to finance?

It may take a while for help via the scheme to be approved or paid out via the banks.

So, if you’re looking for a more immediate cash injection, we can look to provide you with an unsecured loan or look to release cash by refinancing your assets or raising cash against unencumbered assets.

You can contact us to chat through your financial situation on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form here.

Our team is standing by to help businesses during this difficult time and are here to help you and take the strain off so you can focus on running your business.

A message from us…

Christmas background

2020 will forever be remembered as the year that the world came to a halt.

 

Cities stopped, nightlife slept and workplaces emptied, while words like ‘unprecedented’ and ‘social distancing’ resonated around the high streets like the virus itself.

It’s been a year of uncertainty, trepidation and frustration.

But, in true British fashion, it’s also been a year of resolve, solidarity and determination.~

Offices closed but it didn’t stop those people that could still work from doing so.

Kitchen tables became desks, pets became work colleagues and dressing gowns became standard work attire.

There is absolutely no doubt that 2020 has been the worst year for most in a generation. But through the COVID concrete, many roses grew.

There was the clapping for our NHS and key worker heroes, there was Captain Sir Tom Moore, there was the #RandomActsOfKindness movement.

At MAF, we spent most of 2020 doing our very best to help those businesses that need it most in ways that we’d never done before.

Whether it was one of the thousands of moratoriums put through, a CBILS loan for businesses looking to remain strong through the pandemic or simply just being someone to talk to, we just wanted to help.

And we still do.

While the news of vaccines is one of the best things to hear just before Christmas, we are still very much at war with COVID-19.

The coming months will still be tough; businesses will still have to adapt and learn to survive in a tiered society – temporary or not.

But, just like we always do, we will show that renowned resolution that has enabled us to come through so much this year already.

There is always a light.

So, for now, follow guidelines, enjoy Christmas and enter 2021 in the best way you possibly can.

After this year, you deserve it.

Watch our video here

MAF appoint third director in a period of growth…

Andrew Thrower company photo

We have appointed a third director in period of growth for MAF

Based in the Lancashire area, Andrew Thrower, will oversee MAF’s strategy in the north west of England and north Wales to support SMEs.

Joining from White Oak UK, where he was a business development specialist, Andrew also spent 11 years as business development director at Lombard.

Andrew is the third director to join MAF in as many weeks, with Mark Lawson and Paul Richardson becoming healthcare director and Midlands sales director, respectively.

On joining MAF, Andrew said: “This is an exciting opportunity to join a team of highly skilled, experienced and like-minded people, and I’m relishing in the opportunity.

“Most importantly, it enables me to support SMEs more than ever to help with their investment plans during one of the most challenging periods in recent times.”

Director, Head of Business Development, Dave Chapman added: “Andrew brings a wealth of experience in asset finance, with a specialism in the agriculture and renewables sectors.

“Andrew’s role as Sales Director, North West is a key role within our business as we continue to expand nationally by creating additional divisions at MAF.”

If you are looking for finance for your business or need to unlock cash, call us on 0115 958 6872, email enquiries@maffinancegroup.co.uk or fill an enquiry form here.