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December 10, 2013updated 12 Apr 2017 3:59pm

UK leasing positive over Autumn Statement

Leasing companies and trade bodies have reacted positively to the Autumn Statement mini-budget announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, particularly the launch of the British Business Bank.

By Richard Irvine-Brown

Leasing companies and trade bodies have reacted positively to the Autumn Statement mini-budget announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, particularly the launch of the British Business Bank.

The Bank is intended to support the provision of leasing and asset finance, and had an additional £250m pledged for its use. The announcement some of this money will go toward business funding has been applauded by the Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) and lessors Aldermore and Syscap have spoken in favour of the initiative.

Julian Rose, head of asset finance at the FLA, said the scheme "could enable specialist non-bank asset finance companies in particular to support more investment and jobs."

The launch of the Bank would also aid finance provision at a time when "the majority of small businesses did not yet have the necessary equipment and technology needed to thrive over the next three years".

Likewise, Aldermore, which casts itself as one of the ‘challenger banks’ championed by UK politicians, said Osborne was right to support SMEs.

Mark Stephens, group commercial director and deputy chief executive at Aldermore, said: "The Chancellor declared the job is not yet done in terms of economic recovery – something we wholeheartedly agree with.

"Small businesses are the key to continuing Britain’s economic recovery," and the announcements "paint a brighter picture for SMEs in 2014 and beyond".

Asset finance provider Syscap said the extra finance could sustain a ‘vital channel’ for small business leasing, possibly aiding economic growth.

Philip White, chief executive of Syscap, said there was "a huge amount of unsatisfied demand amongst SMEs for lease finance.

"It’s great that the Government is now putting more emphasis on lease finance rather than traditional bank loans, as leasing has proven its ability to provide access to funding for UK SMEs, while banks have been forced to reduce their small business lending sharply".

Meanwhile, Aldermore, the British Vehicle Rental Leasing Association, ACFO and Hitachi Capital Car Solutions have each welcomed further measures related to fleet including the abolition of tax discs and the freezing of fuel duty.

richard.brown@timetric.com

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