Tagged finance

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 2014 Review: Part 2

At Bibby Financial Services in 2014, we saw record breaking highs in funding, successful mid-market promotions, the launch of our advert on Sky TV and the conclusion of our highly-praised ‘Fit For The Future’ events – all high points for the company. But in 2014 we continued to publish key reports and guides for both SMEs and the wider financial services community.

Sharing our knowledge and resources has always been an important part of our work at Bibby Financial Services. Our comprehensive insights into the alternative finance sector, the economy and beyond have been a staple of ours for years now – and 2014 was no different.

One of our most important publications, our quarterly index of small and medium-sized enterprises provides readers with vital information about the turnover of businesses across five industry sectors – manufacturing, construction, transport, wholesale and business services.

Alongside our quarterly index reports, 2014 also saw the introduction of a number of individual specialised reports and guides. These invaluable resources were published via the Bibby Financial Services Blog throughout the year, and provided on-point information for business owners, entrepreneurs, finance specialists and more.

Our West Midlands report focused on the business environment in the region was released in October to coincide with the official opening of Bibby Financial Services’ West Midlands Business Centre. The research and findings highlighted a growing confidence among businesses in the West Midlands when compared with other regions in the UK and featured on BBC Midlands Today.

As well as region specific publications such as our West Midlands report and SME Sentiment Scotland research, this year we published reports and guides that helped to build on the benefits of alternative finance.

‘Livelihood businesses in the UK – A study of micro-enterprises’ was one such report and provided some excellent findings about microbusinesses.

It’s great to be able to look back at the achievements of Bibby Financial Services in 2014, and the scope of our on-going work. I hope that our drive to innovate does not distinguish in 2015 and that we can continue to be an invaluable source of information in the future.

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.

Bibby Financial Services Increase SME Funding

 

Hello all. Andrew Darling here.

As we enter December, Christmas decorations are slowly but surely starting to appear in windows around the country and de-icer is again on sale, so we’re officially on the path to Christmas. Christmas is often a busy time for Bibby Financial Services as many of our clients see orders increasing.

That said, as a business we’ve had a consistently busy year all round, with the launch of our TV advert on Sky TV in May, the introduction of our mid-market promotional offer in September and a record breaking month in August. In fact, the whole of Q3 was strong and from July to the end of September this year, we boosted funding to UK PLC from £392m to £415m, representing a 5.8 per cent increase in just three months.

Alternative finance as a whole has also seen an increase this year, with funding provided by asset based finance providers reaching a record £18.9bn in the second quarter of the year – according to the Asset Based Finance Association.

Looking ahead to 2015, most commentators agree that economic conditions are somewhat unpredictable and unstable at the moment at that this is likely to continue – perhaps until after the general election in May.

What is clear, however, is that SMEs are becoming more aware of the range of funding options available to them and are increasingly less reliant on traditional forms of finance. As a result of this, many of the country’s most ambitious businesses are looking to providers such as Bibby Financial Services to provide cashflow for growth.

For more information about Bibby Financial Services and our cashflow solutions, visit: www.bibbyfinancialservices.com or call 0800 91 95 92.

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.