FLA Staff Blogs

FLA’s SME Messages Put Centre-Stage

20 May 2024

Simon Goldie, Director of Advocacy

This week the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Fair Business Banking published its SME Manifesto.

We have been engaging with the APPG for several years as well as individual parliamentarians. Our public policy work is done in the round: we build alliances with other organisations that are willing to share our messages, and we use a range of channels to get our point across.

Which is why it was of no surprise to see that many of our recommendations were included in the Manifesto:

  • A British Business Bank asset finance green product to support small businesses with their net zero requirements.
  • Ensuring that businesses are ready to borrow when they make their application for finance.
  • Longer-term British Business Bank support schemes – put the Growth Guarantee on a five-year footing.
  • Overhauling the Bank Referral Scheme.

There were some proposals we do not support, most notably extending the regulatory perimeter and extending the Financial Ombudsman’s threshold. Both of these measures would damage not enhance access to credit.  Prior to the Manifesto’s publication we have already set out our objections to HM Treasury, the Treasury Select Committee and the Financial Conduct Authority to these ideas.

 The FLA was also represented at the official parliamentary reception where the Manifesto was launched. We will continue to make the case for the importance of asset finance in supporting SMEs and why certain regulatory moves, could have the opposite effect.



Supporting the broker channel

16 May 2024
The FLA Annual Dinner saw the launch of our Broker Accreditation Service (Asset Finance). Since then, we have been talking a lot about how the service will work and why we set it up. We’ve talked less about the ‘wrap-around’ services that go with it.
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Talent and Leadership in Financial Services

02 May 2024
Our industry is evolving at speed. Shifting consumer behaviour, rapid developments in fintech and a dynamic regulatory environment combine to force a pace of change that threatens to leave some firms behind. Finding and keeping the ‘right’ people is critical to remaining relevant and competitive. But it is not easy. There is an abundance of statistics confirming what we all know to be true – that there is a scarcity of the ‘right’ people and of leadership talent in the UK.
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Sustaining sustainability

01 May 2024
The sustainability agenda impacts FLA members in different ways – whether it’s government legislation requiring businesses to meet net zero targets, regulatory reporting requirements or investor demands for sustainable assets to appear on the balance sheet.
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Autumn Statement, full expensing and leasing

24 Apr 2024
Since the Spring Budget, we have been waiting for the publication of the draft legislation on the inclusion of leasing in full expensing. This is one of the topics we have been discussing with HM Treasury (HMT) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). More of that later. Over the weekend, the press has been speculating that the ‘Autumn Statement’ would be held in September. That would be earlier than usual. In fact, past Autumn Statements have taken place in December, which gives a new meaning to autumn.
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Rachel Reeves shows how Labour will govern

15 Feb 2024
HM Treasury (HMT) has always been a key power centre in Whitehall. Sometimes it has been more obvious than not – for instance when Gordon Brown was Chancellor, he made clear that in his view he was the Chief Executive of the Government while the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was Chairman. Other Chancellors were more subtle but however they approached the role, they knew that being in charge of the Treasury meant making the political and economic weather.
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Spring Budget 2024

16 Jan 2024
During cold winters we take comfort in the knowledge that spring will arrive. There are different ways to spot it: flowers begin to bloom, you can see boxing hares (apparently), the clocks go forward, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer has a Budget. This year Spring will be early: 6 March.
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Full Expensing Gets Technical

04 Dec 2023
The Chancellor’s eye-catching announcement that full expensing was to become permanent dominated the business news. HM Treasury (HMT) also announced a technical consultation on the drafting of legislation to include leasing in this capital allowance regime.
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COP28: De-risking the green transition

30 Nov 2023
COP28, officially known as the 2028 United Nations Climate Change Conference, commences this week in the United Arab Emirates. As nations continue their efforts to cap long-term global temperature increases at 1.5°C, their citizens are increasingly feeling the effects of policies limiting carbon emissions. Not least of which is the cost of moving to a net zero future – a cost which the organisers of COP28 recognise can only be met with the critical support of finance, a key theme of the conference.
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Making Sure Central Banks Value Non-Banks

29 Sep 2023
In a recent Financial Times interview Klaas Knot, chair of the international Financial Stabilities Board (FSB) stated that the Board will be reviewing whether hedge funds and private equity firms are too highly leveraged and pose a potential risk to financial stability. The FT article informs us that the FSB “hopes to announce recommendations on monitoring and limiting non-bank leverage next year”.
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If it is the Autumn, it must be a fiscal event

06 Sep 2023
There was a time when the Budget took place once a year. As part of this tradition, certain conventions were adhered to: the Chancellor must stand outside No. 11 holding up a red case, the Chancellor must never disclose the Budget content beforehand, and unlike other Whitehall departments, HM Treasury (HMT) got legislative space annually for a Finance Bill.
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Navigating the Complex ESG Reporting Landscape: Challenges and Opportunities

17 Aug 2023
In today's business landscape, the call for sustainable practices is louder than ever before. Regulators, shareholders, and customers are increasingly demanding that businesses measure and monitor their environmental and social impacts. This heightened scrutiny has given rise to a proliferation of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting frameworks, metrics, and disclosure requirements.
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Tax – a lever for investment

10 Aug 2023
Tax policy can be a powerful lever for investment, particularly when it comes to encouraging businesses to play their part in achieving net zero. By offering tax incentives, simplifying capital allowances, and shaping consumer behaviour through VAT adjustments, government can steer businesses towards more sustainable choices and encourage business growth.
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Funding the Future: Supporting a diverse credit market

04 Aug 2023
Businesses come in all shapes and sizes, and the UK’s credit market is uniquely placed to offer them a range of credit options to meet their respective needs. From simple loans to hire purchase and leasing, each funding avenue plays a crucial role. What sets the UK credit landscape apart is the active involvement of independent non-bank providers, which serve as a key source of funding for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and often bridge the gap for underserved groups, including non-prime customers.
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SME Access to Finance: The role of funders

28 Jul 2023
In recent weeks, we have written extensively about what businesses can do to get “match fit” to apply for business finance. There are a number of steps business owners can take to help them have the best possible chance of securing funding, and this is especially the case for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) But what role do funders play in helping businesses to build a fundable profile?
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SME Access to Finance: Getting Match Fit - Part Three

13 Jul 2023
Following my two posts on SMEs getting ‘match fit’ for finance, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) asked us to record a podcast on the issue. To listen to Glenn Collins (ACCA) and John Phillipou (FLA Board member and Managing Director – SME Lending, Paragon Bank) discussing what small businesses need to do, please click on this link.
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Changing business models in uncertain times

10 Jul 2023
Creating the right business model is critical to success as it reflects not only the funder’s attitude to risk, but even the type of finance they are providing. But business models aren’t static. They evolve over time as market conditions alter, new technological enablers emerge, business plans take a different direction, or a new opportunity comes along that requires an alternative approach.
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SME Access to Finance: Getting Match Fit Part Two

05 Jul 2023
In May, I wrote about the importance of SMEs being ‘match fit’ when they apply for finance. In part two, I want to address how the things businesses should think about when applying for finance.
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Funding the real economy and the capital allowances regime

24 May 2023
FLA business finance members fund the equipment and services that firms need to deliver value to their customers. Their contribution is well documented, and is referred to as funding the ‘real economy’ to distinguish this part of financial services from the world of derivative swaps and trading in financial assets.
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SME Access to Finance: Getting Applications Match Fit

17 May 2023
Since the credit crunch, SMEs have said that they sometimes face challenges accessing finance. Asset finance has been the exception by supporting smaller businesses quickly after the credit crunch and continuing to do so since.
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Boosting investment

10 Mar 2023
The Financial Times this week reported that the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, is considering new tax breaks for business investment at next week’s Budget to replace the outgoing super deduction scheme. The economic landscape is now dramatically different compared to when the scheme was launched, with higher interest rates, a cost of living crisis, and a Government much less likely to make big spending commitments.
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Reading the runes

08 Mar 2023
Weeks before Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, signed the Windsor Framework, there were indications that agreement had already been reached on a topic the FLA had previously reported to members.
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Navigating an unstable world

07 Mar 2023
There is a perception that the world is less stable than it used to be. Your view will depend on how you assess these things, and your start date, but since 2016 we have certainly seen a series of political and economic crises that have impacted business leaders. As the FT recently reported, CEOs are having to rethink how they forecast the future.
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Awareness of asset finance increases - even among AI

03 Mar 2023
Last week, the British Business Bank (BBB) issued its annual report on small business finance, which highlighted asset finance as an increasing source of funding for small business.
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All change in Whitehall?

10 Feb 2023
One of the prerogatives of a Prime Minister is to reshuffle the Cabinet. Some occupants of No. 10 like to do this fairly often, while others try and avoid Whitehall disruption. On this occasion, Whitehall has certainly had a shake-up, as Rishi Sunak shuffled government departments as well as ministerial jobs. The changes send a signal about intent as well as setting a direction of travel for policymaking.
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FLA's First ESG Awards

08 Feb 2023
In two weeks we will be celebrating the winners of the FLA’s first ESG Awards at our 2023 annual dinner. The awards recognise an exemplary commitment to ESG, in particular net zero. We launched the awards because it is important to champion what our members do and the contribution they make above and beyond funding the UK economy and the value that brings.
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FLA Put Net Zero Top of the Government's Agenda

25 Jan 2023
While we speak to HM Treasury civil servants throughout the year, a Chancellor’s Budget is an opportunity to formally propose policy ideas that will drive economic activity and help the government in question achieve its stated aims.
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2023: A Year of Opportunity for Asset Finance

19 Jan 2023
With the continued war in Ukraine, energy prices and inflation still high, it might seem foolhardy to say that 2023 will be a year for opportunity for the asset finance sector. The reality is that FLA members ended 2022 on a sound footing with reasonable growth, and as we enter the new year, energy prices are beginning to reduce, inflation appears to be slowing down and the prediction of interest rates continually ratcheting up looks to be off the mark.
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Leadership in a hybrid world

15 Jun 2022
Since 2020, many organisations have entered in to ‘hybrid’ arrangements with staff splitting the working week between the office, home and perhaps somewhere else. In the last year, some organisations have asked their teams to return to the office full-time but most have embraced this new way of working. It is, of course, not without its challenges.
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Government announces levelling up plan

02 Feb 2022
The Government’s long-awaited ‘levelling up’ plan has now been announced. It has received widespread coverage and as one would expect praise and criticism in equal measure. The White Paper boldly states that this will be a complete system change in how government works. As well as the deployment of taxpayer money to address regional disparities, the White Paper commits the Government to the transfer of power from Westminster to local areas. The timescales set out in the paper are long-term with many of the objectives looking towards 2030, so go beyond the current Parliament.
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Prioritising technological change within financial services.

23 Apr 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have forced many organisations to prioritise technological change – whether to enable remote working or match changing customer expectations.
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Developing the motor finance industry for the ‘new normal’

12 Apr 2021
Over the last year, we have been continuously reminded of how the pandemic will lead to a ‘new normal’, as the limitations of lockdown spurred on a marked increase in digital adoption.
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The Treasury’s Future Regulatory Framework consultation could herald an approach that we have been suggesting….

20 Oct 2020
A hefty document from the Treasury landed in the FLA inbox yesterday.
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