Top stories

  1. UK Finance and the Federation of Master Builders launch guide to development finance for SME housebuilders
  2. Tusk reiterates EU offer of ‘Canada +++’
  3. Half of 22 to 29 year olds have no savings

Stat of the day

1.4 – the percentage fall in house prices in September from the previous month, according to the Halifax House Price Index.

UK Finance and the Federation of Master Builders launch guide to development finance for SME housebuilders

The Times (£, p.50, print only) reports that SME housebuilders are to be given help in navigating the development finance process and accessing the funding they need, following the publication of a new guide by UK Finance and the Federation of Master Builders (FMB). The guide offers practical advice to smaller housebuilders on how they should present their project to lenders to improve their chances of success, as well as the alternative options available if an application for finance is turned down. It also offers smaller housebuilders advice on how to make the most of the diverse range of finance options available including challenger banks, private equity, crowd funding, finance brokers and government-supported funds.

Commenting on the launch of the guide, Stephen Pegge, Managing Director of Commercial Finance, UK Finance, said:

“The range of finance options available to SME housebuilders is now greater than ever, from traditional high street lenders to crowd funding and government-supported schemes. But too often SMEs are deterred from applying for finance because they are unsure about where to look or whether they’ll be successful.

“This guide is designed to help smaller housebuilders navigate this diverse landscape and find the right form of finance for them. Through close cooperation between UK Finance, the Federation of Master Builders and the government, we are determined to help SME builders grow their business and build the homes the country needs.”

Tusk reiterates EU offer of ‘Canada +++’

In a joint press conference on Thursday with the Irish Taoiseach, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, reiterated that the EU is prepared to offer a “Canada +++” post-Brexit relationship with the UK after Brexit. Such a deal would mimic that recently agreed between the EU and Canada, with “much further-reaching on trade, on internal security and on foreign policy cooperation” (CityAM, p.3). At the same press conference, Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, urged the UK government to publish its proposals for averting a ‘hard border’ between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland “as soon as possible”, in order to give the EU27 enough time to consider and respond to them in a meaningful way before the EU Council summit of October 17-18 (The Guardian, p.13).

Meanwhile, the UK’s Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox told Bloomberg (online only) that despite holding some reservations, he supports the Prime Minister’s ‘Chequers’ blueprint for a post-Brexit trading relationship with the EU. Fox, one of the most prominent campaigners for Brexit during the 2016 referendum, said that “whilst I may be very sympathetic with those who take an ideologically purist position, we are also politicians whose job is to be able to deliver”. He added that any “imperfections” in the deal agreed before the Article 50 deadline of 29 March 2018 could be revisited at a later date.

Half of 22 to 29 year olds have no savings

Figures published by the Office for National Statistics show that 53 percent of 22 to 29 year olds have nothing in a savings account or Individual Savings Account (ISA), up from 41 percent ten years ago. BBC News(online only) reports that a “savings gap has emerged” among  the 47% who do hold savings, with the top ten percent having in excess of £15,000 set aside, and the bottom ten percent having less than £100.

The same ONS report into the financial standing of that age cohort also revealed that the proportion of those who own their own homes has fallen by ten percentage points in the last 10 years, from 37 percent to 27 percent (The Times, £, online only).

Latest from UK Finance

Daniel Cichocki, Principal, Commercial Finance Policy, blogs on today’s launch of the joint UK Finance and Federation of Master Builders guide to development finance for SME housebuilders.

News in Brief

The Prime Minister’s Conservative Party Conference pledges to “end austerity”, increase funding for the NHS, freeze fuel duties and increase council house building could leave the public finances with a £35 billion “blackhole” by the end of the current Parliament, reports the FT (£, p.3).

Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods company, has scrapped plans to change its dual-listed structure in favour of a single listing on the Dutch stock exchange, citing fierce opposition from UK shareholders (FT, £, online only).

A report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies found that low-qualified, male manual workers will be most exposed to the adverse impacts of Brexit-related trade barriers on the economy and jobs market (BBC News, online only).

The Financial Times (£, p.2) reports that many of the UK’s wealthiest residents are moving assets out of the country, in anticipation of potential higher taxes and capital controls by a Labour government.

The U.S. Justice Department laid charges against seven Russian military intelligence officials, for their alleged role in a number of cyber attacks against American and Western organisations, including the World Anti-Doping Agency (Politico, online only).

Starting salaries grew at the fastest rate for more than three years in September, according to a report by IHS Markit and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (Bloomberg, online only).

What the commentators say

Writing in the Daily Telegraph (p.19, £), Assistant Editor Jeremy Warner argues that the spending commitments made by the Prime Minister this week will make it harder for the government to meet its fiscal goals. He points to analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies which suggests the recent pledge to end austerity will cost an extra £21 billion by 2022/23, which would be inconsistent with the goal of eliminating the deficit by the mid-2020s. He ends by suggesting that instead of increasing public spending the government should pursue a “bold, tax cutting agenda,” which could boost economic growth and possibly even generate stronger revenues in the long term.

Writing in the Financial Times (£, online only) Tim Harford acknowledges that ‘big data’ can enhance competition in markets by providing consumers with greater information with which to compare the products on offer. However he argues that it can also have an anti-competitive effect, by allowing companies to “micro-target” specific customers, and to offer them variable versions of a product according to their profile.

Calendar

  • Halifax House Price Index
  • ONS publishes the latest UK productivity statistics
  • The FCA, Bank of England and PRA ‘Building the UK financial sector’s operational resilience’ discussion paper response deadline.

For a full list of upcoming UK Finance statistics releases, please click here.

News in brief – 5 October 2018