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Peer2Peer Finance News | December 17, 2017

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Budget: P2P calls for better access to finance for SMEs and higher ISA limit

Budget: P2P calls for better access to finance for SMEs and higher ISA limit
John Fitzsimons

PEER-TO-PEER lenders have outlined some of their hopes for Wednesday’s Budget, including calls to improve small- and medium-sized enterprises’ (SME) access to finance and a larger tax-free ISA allowance.

Liam Brooke, co-founder of property platform Lendy, said the top priority must be addressing the likely fall in migrant labour – which has played such a significant role in the construction industry – after the Brexit process is completed. He also said that improving access to finance for property SMEs is critical.

“Without sufficient cashflow to pay for bricks and bricklayers, nothing is going to change,” said Brooke.

“We also feel that local authority borrowing caps should urgently be reviewed in order to unlock more capital to fund much-needed residential development. Being able to borrow against the value of councils’ existing housing stock could provide the solution the government is looking for.”

Read more: Budget: Assetz investors call for housebuilding reforms

Meanwhile, Martin Baker, director of communications at P2P business lender Money&Co, said that the Budget was being conducted in difficult circumstances for the chancellor, arguing it was “like playing chess as vultures circle overhead”.

Baker said he was concerned that Philip Hammond may alter EIS tax relief.

“I’ve long held the belief that EIS equity investment can be a complementary investment to P2P investing,” he said. “Equity can form part of a balanced portfolio for those who appreciate the risks – high failure rate, very young companies, but attractive upside – versus P2P.”

Baker also argued that increasing the ISA limit would be welcome, adding: “The £20,000 ISA limit is good, but you can’t have too much of a good thing.”

Read more: SMEs doubt Budget will meet their needs

Giles Cross, chief marketing officer at secured business lender Folk2Folk, said he hoped that the Budget would include fairer tax benefits for sole traders and small business owners, as well as “clear business and tax guidance for our vital agricultural, leisure and tourism industries as we go through Brexit”.

“We believe helping these industries with better business rates and taxation will help create thriving local communities that overall contribute more to the UK economy and are financially and socially sustainable for years to come,” he said.

Read more: P2P sector urges chancellor to set bold housing agenda in Autumn Budget