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2015 Budget: tax-free savings and more flexible ISAs

Last week marked one of the biggest dates in the financial calendar, in which Conservative Chancellor George Osborne delivered the 2015 Budget.

As a pre-election rally, the Chancellor’s speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday the 18th of March included a recap of what has been done in the last five years. “Today I report on a Britain that is growing, creating jobs and paying its way” were the Chancellor’s opening words. But despite the relevance of the Budget as a pivotal role in the up-coming election, what exactly does it mean for us?

The Budget that “works for you”

Whilst last year’s Budget was a revolution for pensioners, it seems that this year’s is much the same, but for savers. Billed as the Budget that “works for you”, the Chancellor announced the promise of tax-free savings and more flexible ISAs.

Bearing in mind that many of the changes proposed by the Conservative government depend on being re-elected in May – one of the biggest features of the 2015 Budget is the new personal saving allowance.

New personal savings allowance

From April 2016, a new personal savings allowance will reward savers by not taxing the first £1,000 of income for basic-rate taxpayers. Higher rate taxpayers though, will only receive a £500 personal saving allowance, whilst those who pay the top rate will not benefit at all.

“Help to Buy”

One of the other big announcements was a new “Help to Buy” ISA scheme – which will help first-time buyers to get onto the property ladder. Essentially, for every £200 saved by a first-time buyer, the Government will add £50 – allowing new home owners to save for a mortgage from their pre-tax income.

Flexible ISAs

Additionally, according to the 2015 Budget, ISAs will be more flexible. Savers will now be able to withdraw and replace money in the same tax year without losing any of their tax-free allowance. This will mean more options for savers and flexibility in the long run.

Undoubtedly, this year’s Budget has revealed some significant new changes when it comes to saving. First time buyers and basic-rate taxpayers will no doubt benefit greatly. But with interest rates still at an all-time low, it’s hard not to be at least a little wary.

About the Author

Having worked in financial services for over 36 years, Andrew Darling is a specialist in invoice discounting, factoring and trade finance solutions. He currently manages the development of business with higher turnover companies at Bibby Financial Services, specialising in corporate finance for businesses with turnover of £5 million or more.

Could low interest rates threaten the UK economy?

Whilst the majority of news outlets, businesses, corporations and government parties are keen to point out our positive economic stance, it seems that overlooking low interest rates could threaten the UK economy in the future.

Stable recovery in 2014

Ahead of the general election on the 7th of May, Chancellor George Osborne may well be able to claim credit for the strongest annual performance since the start of the financial crisis. An interesting thought when looking back at the coalition government.

2014 saw stable recovery; growth in services, construction, manufacturing and production, drops in unemployment and more stable house prices. But are our interest rates threatening to harm these critical economic developments?

Six years of record lows

At a record low of 0.5%, the central bank’s current interest rate is at rock bottom. It has remained at its emergency setting since the MPC voted to keep the Bank’s low rate back in March 2009. And whilst low rates provide a number of benefits, the risks are undeniable.

The ongoing dangers of low interest rates are according to the Telegraph, a possible increase in inequality, reduced productivity, excessive inflation and making it hard to counter future economic crises.

Interest rates

Many predicted a rise in interest rates at the start of 2015, but after a sharp decline in the rate of inflation – falling way below the target of 1pc – forecasts of a rate hike have been pushed back a whole year to the first quarter of 2016.

With volatile loan rates, declines in fixed rate savings and returns for savers, and record mortgage rate lows, the current economic climate is at a turning point. And only time will reveal the true outcomes of our near-zero interest. But we must be weary of the risks and damage that might be caused by raising rates too late.

About the Author

Having worked in financial services for over 36 years, Andrew Darling is a specialist in invoice discounting, factoring and trade finance solutions. He currently manages the development of business with higher turnover companies at Bibby Financial Services, specialising in corporate finance for businesses with turnover of £5 million or more.

Construction SMEs in the UK

At, Bibby Financial Services, we come into contact with a wide range of enterprises and business owners.

From home grown micro-businesses and SMEs, to creative outlets and corporate enterprises, our job at Bibby Financial Services is to help businesses fulfil their potential and thrive in their dedicated trade.

The construction sector

One of the areas we specialise in is construction and we have been providing funding solutions for the sector for over ten years.

Construction contributes around £90 billion (6.7 per cent) in Gross Value Added (GVA) every year, and provides some 2.93m jobs in over 280,000 businesses. It’s therefore not an industry to be ignored!

Bibby Financial Services research

Many businesses in the construction sector are sole traders, partnerships and small subcontractors who are often ignored in favour of large main contractors and house building giants.

So, in light of this, in the final three months of 2014, our market insight team conducted a study which offers a unique take on the challenges and opportunities that smaller firms face today – such as struggles with cashflow and issues surrounding late payment.

‘Planning for Growth: Construction SMEs in the UK’

Based on a sample of 200 businesses, our study – presented in the report ‘Planning for Growth: Construction SMEs in the UK’ – shows levels of work, opportunities and challenges faced by these SMEs. To find out more you can read the report and download it in full on the Bibby Financial Services Blog.

You can also find out more about Construction Finance on the Bibby Financial Services’ website here.

About the Author

Having worked in financial services for over 36 years, Andrew Darling is a specialist in invoice discounting, factoring and trade finance solutions. He currently manages the development of business with higher turnover companies at Bibby Financial Services, specialising in corporate finance for businesses with turnover of £5 million or more.

Andrew Darling Discusses Company Success

One of the most rewarding parts of my job is being able to help clients to achieve their potential. Seeing a business or customer able to achieve success and growth because of the help and support of my team is a truly great experience.

Cashflow funding solutions

Working in the corporate team the UK’s leading independent invoice finance specialist Bibby Financial Services, we help to provide small and medium sized businesses with cashflow funding solutions. We offer alternative funding options such as Invoice Finance; services which help business owners to take control of their finances and spark growth.

Diverse Clients

Trusted funder to over 7,000 businesses, handling annual client turnover of £4.9 billon, Bibby Financial Services help a diverse range of businesses and companies from both the UK and overseas, regardless of their size. Working with a client-base so different in both their size and respective needs, we encounter people and businesses from all walks of life; from different sectors and industries, with different goals and ambitions. And that’s what makes our work so rewarding.

Hearing directly from our clients, it’s amazing to see the effect that alternative forms of funding can have on ambitious companies and SMEs. Being able to see the direct results that our products have is a really important part of the process and helps us to further improve our facilities and services.

R&G International Trading company success

When overseas clothing importer R&G International Trading – set up by Carole Tong in 2001 – needed to expand, the company switched to Bibby Financial Services for funding. More flexible and fitting to Carole’s needs, the bespoke funding package enabled R&G to pay suppliers more quickly, reduce costs and be more competitive as a result.

The Edinburgh based business is now set to double its turnover and reach £30 million in the next three years thanks to a £5 million strong trade, stock and invoice discounting finance facility provided by Bibby Financial Services.

The £5m bespoke finance package for R&G International Trading is actually the largest deal completed in Scotland by Bibby Financial Services to date – a great achievement for the corporate team.

Commitment to supporting business

It’s brilliant to see that R&G, and companies just like them – who are in need of financial help – are able to find success through services like Invoice Discounting. They’re a testament to ambitious and hardworking SMEs everywhere, and help to reassure our strong commitment to supporting business in the UK and beyond.

You can read more testimonials and find out more about Bibby Financial Services right now on the Bibby Blog.

About the Author

Having worked in financial services for over 36 years, Andrew Darling is a specialist in invoice discounting, factoring and trade finance solutions. He currently manages the development of business with higher turnover companies at Bibby Financial Services, specialising in corporate finance for businesses with turnover of £5 million or more.

Andrew Darling 2014 Review: Part 1

As we quickly approach Christmas and the New Year, our minds turn to spending time with family and friends, however, it’s hard not to look back at 2014 and reflect on what a great year we’ve had here at Bibby Financial Services.

Part of our role as the UK’s leading independent invoice finance is not only to provide growing businesses with flexible and reliable cashflow solutions, but to raise awareness of alternative forms of funding so that SMEs can make informed decisions about their future. And this year, in 2014, I believe we’ve been able to do just that.

This year I celebrated my 25th year in the invoice finance sector, since joining the industry in 1989. Having spent 10 of those years at Bibby Financial Services, it’s great to see the business perform so well in 2014.

In August, we celebrated what was a record breaking month for Bibby Financial Services. Q3 on the whole was very strong, and we boosted funding to UK PLC from £392m to £415m, representing a 5.8 per cent increase in just three months.

Following on from a more than healthy summer and Q3, our team in the North East were recognised for their hard work at the North East Dealmakers Awards. The team were awarded Asset Based Lender of the Year for the second year running – an amazing achievement for alternative finance in the North of England.

As well as receiving praise from industry professionals, 2014 has provided us with opportunities to give back to the business community. Bibby Financial Services’ series of ‘Fit For The Future’ events were a great success; helping business owners and intermediaries to network and hear from some inspiring speakers.

After a run of dates hosted in Sheffield, Durham, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Brighton and Birmingham, the ‘Fit For The Future’ roadshow came to a close in London earlier this month, with over 100 of the City’s leading business advisors and SME owners in attendance. It was a fitting end to the series of events, and I look forward to seeing what 2015 brings.

About the Author

Having worked in financial services for over 36 years, Andrew Darling is a specialist in invoice discounting, factoring and trade finance solutions. He currently manages the development of business with higher turnover companies at Bibby Financial Services, specialising in corporate finance for businesses with turnover of £5 million or more.