News in brief: finance, tax, apprenticeships

News in brief
News in brief

Alternative financer Versus360 to partner with GLI Finance

Verus360, the finance company set up to revolutionise funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is to partner with GLI Finance.

GLI has offered the company a £5m funding facility. The investment is good news for SMEs as it will help Verus360 continue to transform the business finance market with its intelligent ‘pay-as-you-use’ online finance. Based in London, Verus360 is able to support businesses with annual revenues in excess of £100,000 with loans of up to £250,000.

Verus360’s online finance was launched in April 2015 and aims to take the pain out of business borrowing by offering flexible finance, with pay-as-you-use interest charges.

Government urged to improve financing in the manufacturing sector

The Finance and Leasing Association (FLA) and the Manufacturing Technologies Association (MTA) have released a joint report calling on the government to help improve the future financing of high-value manufacturing by increasing the use of asset finance (leasing and hire purchase) through the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

Published ahead of the Spending Review later this month, the report urges the Chancellor to retain the RGF and extend the eligibility criteria to include those SMEs who can obtain funding from other sources, as this would help to channel much needed finance to those firms with real growth potential.

If the UK wants to increase its productivity and remain competitive in the international market place, businesses must be able to utilise the latest technology, which will often include software. Increasing the awareness and use of leasing and hire purchase would help to achieve this goal.

Chancellor urged to reconsider changes to the dividend tax regime

It’s not too late for the Chancellor to reconsider proposed changes to the dividend tax regime, which could act as a roadblock to start-ups, according to accountancy firm Clement Keys.

If current plans are implemented, an effective tax rate of 6% will be applied to all dividend payments from 1 April 2016 and a £5,000 tax-free allowance will also be introduced. This is a significant change because, under the current system, basic rate tax payers are not required to pay any additional tax on dividend payments they receive, while higher-rate and additional-rate tax payers face a tax liability of between 32.5 and 37.5% on any dividend payments they receive.

Tax specialist at Clement Keys Adam Longmore said: “The proposed dividend tax changes could act as a roadblock to start-up businesses; putting off entrepreneurs before they get started. Ideally, we would like the Chancellor to recognise this and take steps to soften the regime for those incorporating new businesses.

“For the majority of existing shareholders, the changes are unlikely to have a major impact and in most cases, any additional tax liability will be minimal. While this is true, any tax payer in receipt of dividend payments should seek advice about how the changes might affect them.”

LDF acquires First Independent Finance

LDF, a UK-based business finance provider, has acquired Scottish based asset finance broker First Independent Finance, in a deal that will create the UK’s largest independent SME finance provider.

The combined group, which will provide approximately £400m annually to clients in both the corporate and professions markets, will continue to trade under both the LDF and First Independent Finance brands, employing 175 people.

LDF says that customers of both businesses can now benefit from the group’s capability to provide a much broader set of products, all of which are focused on helping SMEs to better manage their cash flow.

Businesses call for clarity about impending plans for apprenticeships

Ann Watson, CEO of Semta, the not for profit employer-led organisation, tasked with skilling engineering and advanced manufacturing, has called for clarity regarding impending government plans on apprenticeships.

Semta, which represents almost 146,000 companies large and small, has been advising industry to help mould policy to the benefit of British business.

Speaking at the launch of The Skills Show at the NEC in Birmingham, where 140 apprentices will compete in the national finals of the WorldSkills UK engineering competitions, Watson revealed that most companies are clueless as to what is in store.

She said: “Our research is unequivocal – British business is totally in the dark as to what changes are in the pipeline and when they may be implemented.

“We applaud the Government’s target to produce three million new apprenticeships during this Parliament, but industry does need to know details of the plan as soon as possible. Everything seems to be hanging on some kind of announcement next week around the much anticipated Comprehensive Spending Review.”