Total asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew by 6 per cent in September 2021 compared with the same month in 2020, according to figures released by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA).

In the nine months to September 2021, new business was 20 per cent higher than in the same period in 2020, the FLA reported.

The plant and machinery finance and business equipment finance sectors reported new business up in September by 31 per cent and 21 per cent respectively, compared with the same month in 2020. By contrast, IT equipment finance new business fell by 24 per cent over the same period.

Commenting on the figures, Geraldine Kilkelly, director of research and chief economist at the FLA, said:

“The asset finance market continued to grow in September supporting businesses of all sizes recover from the pandemic – new lending to SMEs alone grew by 13 per cent compared with September 2020.

“Our latest research suggests that the industry has maintained its optimism about the opportunities for growth despite the risks to the economic recovery from supply chain disruption, higher inflation and further waves of Covid-19.

"The FLA’s Q4 2021 industry outlook survey shows that 90 per cent of asset finance providers expected new business growth over the next 12 months.

“The industry has a key role to play in delivering net-zero targets by helping businesses invest in assets that use greener and more efficient technologies.

"We have recommended that the Government create a Green Finance Wholesale Guarantee scheme that would significantly scale-up the level of green lending over the next few years.”

Green Finance Wholesale Guarantee needed to scale up net-zero lending: FLA

UK asset finance market grew by 6% in August 2021: FLA