Banks in the UK may soon be forced to help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) find alternative sources of finance if they turn them down for loans, under proposed legislation outlined today.
The unveiling of the rules, which are expected to take effect in Autumn, follows a Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) investigation into business lending.
The CMA found that four banks – Lloyds Banking Group, RSB, HSBC and Barclays – currently account for around 80% of loans given to small businesses.
The CMA concluded by recommending a full inquiry into the lack of competition on the high street, warning that new SME’s often have a tough time accessing the finance they need.
Nor is this a problem that seems to be easing as the economy recovers. Bank of England figures show that net lending to SMEs from high street banks fell by £723 million in the first quarter of 2014.
But under the proposed rules, banks that turn SME’s away would instead have to refer them online to other sources of funding. These will include companies such as challenger banks, direct lenders and crowdfunding sites.
Fleximize, one such alternative finance company, say the legislation could “open the floodgates” for new forms of business lending, which are already growing in popularity.
The London-based direct lender’s own research has found that the total amount loaned to SMEs by alternative funders grew from around £318 million in September 2013 to £852.5 million in June 2014.
“Empowering finance providers with data would be like pressing the turbo button on the alternative lending market for SMEs – the growth could be explosive,” said Max Chmyshuk, founder and managing partner at Fleximize.
Business secretary Vince Cable added, “Forcing banks to refer businesses to alternative lenders is something I’ve been determined to make happen.
“It’s good that more SMEs are making use of alternative finance but the big banks still dominate and small businesses often give up if they’re turned down for finance by their bank.”
Photo: Images_of_Money via Flickr
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A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”