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Peer2Peer Finance News | December 17, 2017

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Lending Works urges chancellor to dig deeper for tech

Lending Works urges chancellor to dig deeper for tech
Marc Shoffman

THE CHANCELLOR has a chance to “dig a little deeper” to support the tech sector in his Budget next week, Lending Works has said.

The peer-to-peer platform has given its backing to the government’s financial support for the tech sector earlier this week, but says more commitment could be shown by Philip Hammond (pictured) on Wednesday.

“One can only applaud the powers that be for demonstrating how seriously they take the roles of fintech and artificial intelligence in future economic growth,” Lending Works said in a blog post on its website on Thursday.

“But, at the same time, next week’s Budget presents a gilt-edged chance for Hammond to dig a little deeper, and lay the framework for Britain to augment its place as the global leader in tech. Let’s hope it’s one he grabs with both hands.”

Read moreFintech pivotal to London’s future prosperity

The consumer lender is also urging the chancellor to avoid targeting savers’ retirement nest eggs, warning that pension tax relief could be a “soft target” to boost the government’s coffers.

“Many experts anticipate a cut to pension tax relief for older workers in order to offset a reduction in National Insurance Contributions for their younger counterparts,” Lending Works said.

“While the sentiment to assist younger workers is a noble one, it seems unwise to take such drastic measures, and to provide discouragement to hard-working savers who are approaching retirement.

“Aside from the fact that pensions have already endured their share of meddling and overhaul in recent years, surely such a policy conveys the wrong message, and risks leaving many later-life workers short in retirement?”

Read more: Chancellor sets out commitment to UK fintech

Lending Works also responded to rumours of a cut to tax relief on enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trusts.

“A cut from 30 per cent to 20 per cent has been mooted as the likely outcome in terms of tax relief, or an increase in the length of time shares must be held until capital gains exemptions kick in,” Lending Works said.

“One hopes that Hammond doesn’t overplay his hand on this issue, but any policy change which sees more money going to the startup companies who need it has to be viewed as a positive move. Ultimately, the success of such an intervention can only be measured retrospectively.”

One area the platform would like to see change is in the housing market, where it backs reducing or axing stamp duty.