Total asset finance new business (primarily leasing and hire purchase) grew by 80% in April 2021 compared with the same month in 2020, according to new figures released by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA). 

In the first four months of 2021, new business was 15% higher than in the same period in 2020, the FLA found. 

The commercial vehicle finance sector reported new business up by 140% in April compared with the same month in 2020. 

The plant and machinery and business equipment finance sectors reported new business up by 58% and 43% respectively, over the same period. 

By contrast, the IT equipment finance sector reported new business 13% lower in April than in the same month in 2020.

Commenting on the figures, Geraldine Kilkelly, director of research and chief economist at the FLA, said: “The strong growth reported by the asset finance market in April was not unexpected given the adverse impact of the first lockdown on new business levels during the second quarter of last year. 

“The latest figures show that the recovery in April was broad-based, with finance provided for investment in a wide range of vehicles, machinery and equipment. The fall in IT equipment finance new business reflected the relative strength of this sector at the start of the pandemic.

“If the industry maintains the performance we have seen in recent months, it would be on course to reach its pre-pandemic annual new business total by the end of 2021. 

“We urge the Government to recognise the importance of the asset finance market in supporting business investment and extend the super-deduction allowance for expenditure on qualifying plant and machinery to include leasing.”

Auto finance

The consumer car finance market reported growth in new business volumes of 1276% in April 2021 compared with the same month in 2020. In the first four months of 2021, new business volumes were 13% higher than in the same period in 2020.