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 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.

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.

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.

New ‘Race to a Trillion’ strategy introduced to boost UK exports to £1 trillion…

The Department for International Trade has published a 12-point plan to assist UK businesses with hitting a £1 trillion target in exports.

The government has just launched a new ‘Made in the UK, Sold to the World’ initiative to double UK business exports and sell world-class British products across the globe.

Wednesday saw the Department for International Trade (DIT) introduce a 12-point export strategy to provide businesses with the necessary tools to push the UK to the forefront of international exports and enjoy more prolific free trade deals.

The strategy includes an Export Support Service to offer professional exporting advice and a new UK Tradeshow Programme especially tailored to those areas outside of the capital and the south east to promote their products globally.

The DIT also introduced an Export Academy in October and will now be expanding across the entirety of the UK. The academy will include masterclasses, roundtables and networking events and will invite owners and senior members of SMEs to attend these.

While, as a nation, the UK exported £600 billion in goods and services in 2020, only one in ten UK businesses can currently be classed as exporters, with competitors such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands leading the race ahead of us in Europe.

It is hoped that increasing our export capacity will boost the UK economy and will fall in line with Boris Johnson’s ‘Levelling Up’ plan. Research commissioned by the government suggests that around 6.5 million jobs were supported by exports nationwide in 2016, with exporters also paying higher wages. These exporting businesses have also been proven to be 21 per cent more productive on average.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said:

“This is a defining moment in our national trading story. As we agree ambitious new trade deals around the world, it is more vital than ever that businesses across the UK take advantage of these opportunities and unleash their full exporting potential.

“Our export strategy will help more businesses start exporting and help those who already export to sell more products to more countries. Reaching £1 trillion worth of exports by the end of this decade means more jobs, more opportunities and higher wages helping the UK to level up and build back better.”

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

UKAEA hand out £2.3 million in innovation contracts…

The innovation contracts are set to combat technical issues with fusion energy

 In line with the Fusion Industry Programme, 15 organisations have been allocated UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) contracts to demonstrate if their innovation can be a helpful contribution to the development of commercial fusion energy.

Each contract is worth between £50,000 and £250,000 and the funds were distributed by the UKAEA’s new ‘Fusion Energy Programme’ and allocated via the government’s ‘Small Business Research Initiative’.

Those organisations working to improve and hasten the design for fusion power plants include firms such as the University of Manchester, Assystem, CAE Tech, CRA, First Light Fusion, Full Matrix, Hybird Ltd and Slingshot Simulations.

Other firms have been rewarded with funding to help “reduce fusion power plant fuel requirements by researching advanced production and handling technologies for hydrogen isotopes.” These include groups such as the University of Bristol, IDOM, Gencoa, CageCapture, Aqsorption, IS-Instruments and Jacobs.

Tim Bestwick, UKAEA’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “Fusion energy holds enormous promise as a low-carbon energy source for the world, but it is technically very challenging. This scheme is helping engage a range of organisations and industrial partners to address these important challenges.

“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to work alongside these organisations and hope to include many others as the scheme develops”.

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

What is Invoice Finance?

What is Invoice Finance and how could it help your business?

Invoice finance is a facility used to quickly release cash locked up in unpaid invoices. Suitable for a variety of companies with B2B customers, it allows businesses to receive a large sum of each of their unpaid invoices as soon as the invoice is raised. The basis for the security for the ‘loan’ lies in the company’s unpaid invoices.

Depending on the level of control you wish to retain over collection and your sales ledger, the types of invoice finance include discounting, factoring, selective invoice discounting, debt factoring, accounts receivable factoring and spot factoring.

The product is a funding solution aimed at businesses in industries with longer payment cycles, tending to be paid by customers by a minimum of 14 days.

How does it work?

You raise your invoices as per usual with your customers.

A large sum of the invoice amount (a pre-agreed percentage with the funder) is then released to you– varying between 75% to 95% of the total value. Payment is usually made within 48 hours of submitting your invoice and, depending on the type of facility you choose – you may or may not remain responsible for the control of your sales ledger and chasing payments.

Once the invoice has been paid by the customer, the funder will release the remainder of the invoice amount, minus their nominal fee for the service.

This nominal fee refers to a Service Charge and Discount Charge. The Service Charge covers the lender’s management, collections and administration costs and is worked out as a percentage of your business’ gross turnover – typically between 0.75% and 2.5%.

The Discount Charge is levied on the amount you draw down on. This falls in at around 1% and 3% over base rate and is calculated daily once the money has been advanced. So, the longer your customer takes to pay – the higher the Discount Charge.

Invoice financing can be a selective facility, used for tricky customers or larger invoices, or can be used across the entirety of your sales ledger, and using this facility for chosen customers is referred to as Selective Receivables Finance.

Invoice finance works the same as a revolving credit line or several shorter bank loans. The difference here lies in the lack of need for assets to offer up to the lender as collateral. There are no personal guarantees required for it either.

Types of Invoice Finance

There are two main types of Invoice Finance –Discounting and Factoring.

Invoice Discounting

Invoice discounting is the more private facility available.

You retain personal responsibility for your sales ledger and the chasing of payments from customers, and your customers remain entirely unaware that there is involvement from an invoice finance lender. If your preference is for your financial facility to remain confidential, then this is the right facility to choose.

Invoice Factoring

Invoice Factoring is a more hands-on, visible facility for the lender.

This will see the lender’s team of credit controllers collect due payments on your behalf, with the payments deposited into a trust account visibly run by the lender.

Should your business consider invoice finance?

Invoice finance facilities have become popular cashflow solutions for businesses to heighten their working capital with minimal effort and more time to focus on their operations.

It has become a popular form of alternative finance for those who want or need to avoid the multitude of eligibility requirements that come with traditional finance, such as loans and overdrafts. Risk-wise, invoice finance funders tend to rather assess the credit history of the customers with due invoices rather than your own company’s, although your own credit history can impact how preferential the rates you receive are.

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