Bluestone Backs New Charity: Normanton Foodbank

We are pleased to announce that we are supporting a new charity which is local to the Bluestone head office: the Normanton Foodbank (part of The Well Project).

What does the Normanton Foodbank do?

“Here at the foodbank we don’t think anyone in our community should have to face going hungry. That’s why we provide three days’ nutritionally balanced emergency food and support to local people who are referred to us in crisis. We are part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, working to combat poverty and hunger across the UK.”

Ash, manager of Normanton Foodbank

The Normanton Foodbank is a project founded by local churches and community groups, working together towards stopping hunger in the local area. Based in the Well Project, Haw Hill Park, Normanton, they are in the heart of the community helping local people in crisis.

“Everyone at Bluestone is committed to ensuring we give back to the community as much as possible. This includes supporting both national and local causes that we believe in, and the Normanton Foodbank is a fantastic example of this. The project is an essential lifeline for many in our area and we look forward to getting involved in any way we can.”

Vineesh Madaan, managing director of Bluestone Leasing

How does the foodbank work?

Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. A simple box of food makes a big difference, with foodbanks helping prevent crime, housing loss, family breakdown and mental health problems.

  1. FOOD IS DONATED: Schools, churches, businesses and individuals donate non-perishable, in-date food to a foodbank. Large collections often take place as part of Harvest Festival celebrations and food is also collected at supermarkets.
  2. FOOD IS SORTED AND STORED: Volunteers sort food to check that it’s in date and pack it into boxes ready to be given to people in need. Over 40,000 people give up their time to volunteer at foodbanks.
  3. PROFESSIONALS IDENTIFY PEOPLE IN NEED: Foodbanks partner with a wide range of care professionals such as doctors, health visitors, social workers and police to identify people in crisis and issue them with a foodbank voucher.
  4. CLIENTS RECEIVE FOOD: Foodbank clients bring their voucher to a foodbank centre where it can be redeemed for three days’ emergency food. Volunteers meet clients over a warm drink or free hot meal and are able to signpost people to agencies able to solve the longer-term problem.

How to give help

There are several ways that you can help the Normanton Foodbank in their mission:

If you could like more information about the project and/or how you can get involved, visit www.normanton.foodbank.org.uk.

Other projects/charities we are proud to support include:

  • Mind
  • Guide Dogs
  • Wakefield Hospice
  • MS Society
  • The Children’s Hospital Charity
  • Macmillan Cancer Support.

Tax Relief Update: Deadlines Extended for AIA & Super Deduction

Headlines

  • The Annual Investment Allowance of £1,000,000, which had been due to revert to £200,000 at the start of 2022, has been extended until the end of March 2023.
  • The Super deduction tax relief, which had been due to end in December 2022, will remain in place until March 2023.

Annual Investment Allowance (AIA)

What is the Annual Investment Allowance?

The AIA is a way to claim tax relief on many assets that your business buys. If your business buys a piece of equipment that qualifies for the AIA, you can deduct 100% of the cost of that asset from your business’s profit before you work out how much tax is due on that profit. If your business is registered for VAT, you claim the Annual investment allowance on the total cost of the asset less any VAT you can reclaim on that asset. If your business is not registered for VAT, you claim the AIA on the total cost of the asset. If you sell the item after claiming AIA you may need to pay tax.

AIA is available for companies, individuals and partnerships, where all the members are individuals.

What’s the update?

The government sets a limit for how much AIA a business can claim in a year, which means that if you buy assets costing more than the limit, you won’t be able to claim Annual Investment Allowance on all your assets. The limit was previously £200,000 but in January 2019 it was temporarily increased to £1,000,000. This new limit will now be in effect until March 2023.

Are all assets eligible for the AIA?

No, they’re not. You can claim AIA on most plant and machinery up to the AIA amount, but you cannot claim AIA on:

  • business cars
  • items you owned for another reason before you started using them in your business
  • items given to you or your business

You can only claim AIA in the period you bought the item. The date you bought it is:

  • when you signed the contract, if payment is due within less than 4 months
  • when payment’s due, if it’s due more than 4 months later.

If you buy something under a hire purchase contract you can claim for the payments you have not made yet when you start using the item. You cannot claim on the interest payments.
AIA is not available for partnerships where one of the partners is a company or another partnership. If you’re a sole trader or a partner and you have more than one business or trade, each business usually gets an AIA. You only get one AIA if the businesses are both:

  • controlled by the same person
  • in the same premises or have similar activities

If 2 or more limited companies are controlled by the same person they only get one AIA between them. They can choose how to share the AIA.

Super-deduction

What is the Super-deduction?

As we have outlined, under the AIA, companies can currently deduct 100% (up to £1 million) of the cost of eligible assets from their taxable profits. Since the super-deduction was introduced in April 2021, companies paying corporation tax can deduct up to 130% of the cost of new assets from their taxable profits.

To support UK businesses and to encourage them to invest in growth (in order to help our economy after the impact of COVID) the government announced the super-deduction tax relief in 2021. It enables businesses to deduct up to 25p off tax bills for every £1 UK businesses spent on qualifying plant and machinery.

What’s the update?

Originally the super-deduction was going to be available between April 2021 and December 2022. This has now been extended until March 2023.

Which companies are entitled to claim the super-deduction?

The super-deduction is available to companies of all sizes, as long as they pay corporation tax, and the assets they are investing in are eligible.

The super-deduction is not available to individuals, sole traders or partnerships.

In addition to the super-deduction, the government has also announced that within Freeport tax sites, companies can access Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECA+), and that companies, individuals, and partnerships can access an increased level of Structures & Building Allowances (SBA+) until 30th

Which assets are eligible for the super-deduction?

According to HMRC, “Most tangible capital assets used in the course of a business are considered plant and machinery for the purposes of claiming capital allowances.”

To qualify for the super-deduction, the assets must be new and unused, so second-hand equipment will not be eligible. 

Examples of eligible plant and machinery assets include, but are not limited to:

  • Solar panels
  • IT equipment and servers
  • Office desks and chairs
  • Tractors, lorries and vans (not cars)
  • Refrigeration units
  • Electric vehicle charge points
  • Foundry equipment
  • Compressors
  • Drills, ladders, cranes
  • Tools
  • Business mobile phones
  • Air conditioning.

The super-deduction first year allowance of 130% will apply on qualifying main rate plant and machinery like those listed above, but special rate and long life assets will only qualify for 50% first year allowance (FYA).

For more information on the super-deduction and eligible assets, visit our full article on the super-deduction

How to take advantage of the super-deduction

If you are running a company that pays corporation tax and want to take advantage of the super-deduction while it is available, get in touch with Bluestone Leasing. We can help you to understand how the super-deduction could benefit your business as well as how asset finance could fit into your future growth strategy.

Send us a message using the form below and we’ll be in touch ASAP.

Bank of England Announces Rise in Interest Rate: How Could it Impact Your Business?

The Bank of England has raised interest rates for the fourth time since December 2021 to 1% – the highest level in 13 years – but what does this mean for UK businesses? And is there anything they can do to minimise the financial impact on their operation?

Who makes the decision to increase interest rates?

The Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meets eight times a year (roughly every six weeks) for its nine members to discuss whether to hold the base rate or move it up or down – and by how much. The MPC considers factors such as the rate of inflation, economic growth and the UK employment rate. Each member then has a vote, with the majority determining the outcome.

For several years before the pandemic hit in March 2020, the base rate largely remained at the 0.5% mark. At the start of the pandemic, it was reduced from 0.75% to 0.1%. The Bank Rate was raised from 0.1% to 0.25% in December 2021, increased again to 0.5% in February 2022, and then again to 0.75% in March 2022.

The latest meeting of the committee was in early May 2022, with its rate decision of 1% announced on the 5th.

The rising base rate will make borrowing more expensive for individuals, families, and businesses who are already battling with increasing energy costs, but unfortunately it seems that the cost of living crisis isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, many experts predict that interest rates could double to 2% by end of 2022.

Why has the Bank of England increased interest rates?

Prices have risen sharply in the UK in recent months, and are much higher than a year ago. The speed of that increase is called the rate of inflation. The Bank of England uses interest rate increases as a tool to curb rising inflation. The logic behind this is that if the cost of borrowing increases, people and businesses will be less willing to take out loans for spending purposes, which would decrease demand and reduce prices.

The Bank of England website states:

“The main tool we have to influence inflation is interest rates. [Increasing interest rates] will help bring the rate of inflation down. It will take time to work. We expect the rate of inflation to reach around 8% this spring. But increasing interest rates now will help make sure inflation falls back towards our 2% target over the next couple of years. […] We may need to increase interest rates further in the coming months. But that all depends on what happens in the economy. In particular, we will be watching closely what is likely to happen to the rate of inflation in the next year or two.”

Why has inflation increased in the UK?

There are several factors that have contributed to rising inflation in 2021.

Firstly, after Covid restrictions eased, economies around the world opened up and people naturally started buying again, but the sellers of many of these things had problems meeting the demand. This caused prices to rise during 2021, particularly for goods that were imported from abroad.

In addition to this, there was a very steep rise in the price of oil and gas. In February 2022, the Bank of England predicted inflation would go up to 7%. Since then, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to further increases in the price of energy and food.

On top of all this, it is expected that the price cap on energy will rise again in October 2022.

What does all this mean for UK businesses?

The cost of operating is likely to increase for UK businesses due to rising energy costs, but if you have any financial agreements that are subject to variable interest rates such as loans, overdrafts, or commercial mortgages, you also may find that the cost of your repayments increases due to inflation.

However, if your agreements are subject to a fixed rate you won’t see any change until the end of your fixed period.

How can UK businesses minimise the impact of rising interest rates?

Lock in lower interest rates while you can

If you have been thinking about expanding your operation, investing in new assets, taking out a loan, or you have development projects kept on the backburner due to Covid, delaying action any longer could mean that you miss the chance to lock in lower interest rates.

It is highly likely that inflation, and therefore variable interest rates, are going to continue to increase over the coming weeks and months, but there is still time to secure finance agreements at a fixed lower rate with a broker like Bluestone Leasing.

This is because, although the Bank of England has increased their rate, lenders will take weeks or even months to adjust their rates to reflect this. Essentially, the sooner you secure your finance, the lower your interest rates are likely to be. The interest rates will be fixed until the end of your agreement and you may also be able to access tax advantages.

Consider refinancing recent purchases

Realistically operating costs are only going to increase in the coming months and cash will become even more precious to your business. Spreading the cost of your purchases over time via a finance agreement enables you to keep more cash in your business, boosting liquidity and cashflow. If you have recently purchased assets with cash, you might want to consider refinancing the assets. This will unlock the cash tied up in the assets so you can put it to better use in your business.

Secure your finance rates today

Bluestone Leasing can arrange a variety of bespoke finance solutions to help you manage your business’ finances over the challenging months ahead, including.

  • Finance leases
  • Cashflow loan
  • VAT loans
  • Corporation tax loans
  • PI insurance loans
  • Self-assessment loans
  • Hire Purchase agreements
  • Invoice finance facilities
  • Commercial mortgages
  • Vehicle finance (personal or commercial).

To request a call back from one of our experienced finance professionals, send us an enquiry using the form below or email info@bluestoneleasing.com.

Bluestone WIN Business Moneyfacts Asset Finance Broker of the Year 2022

We are proud to announce that Bluestone Leasing has been named Asset Finance Broker of the Year 2022 at the Business Moneyfacts Awards.

The Business Moneyfacts Awards is the largest business finance awards ceremony in the UK where each year the industry comes together to celebrate the very best brands in the business finance and commercial finance sectors. The winners across all the categories were announced at a gala dinner on Thursday 28th April.

Managing director of Bluestone Leasing, Vineesh Madaan, said:

“We are hugely proud of the team for winning Business Moneyfacts Asset Finance Broker of the Year. It is fantastic for them to be recognised for all the hard work they do for their clients all year round, particularly as this award is independently verified. We aim to continue providing our clients with the best of the best in commercial finance throughout 2022, 2023, and beyond.”

Members of the Bluestone Leasing team at the gala dinner

How were the winners chosen?

The finalists and eventual winners of the Business Moneyfacts Awards are decided upon via a combination of methods. After a self-nomination process, the shortlist was created by the Moneyfacts panel through industry discussions and insights. Shortlisted finance brokers were then able to invite their own clients and lenders to submit testimonials about our quality of service. Those submitting responses were asked to consider all the areas of service that Bluestone Leasing offered. An internal judging panel then assessed and decided on the winners and those who would be

Lee Tillcock, Editor of Business Moneyfacts, said:

“Following a period of previously unprecedented uncertainty and subsequent change the last year has provided ongoing challenges to the economy and the business sector. Fighting hard to shake off the effects of COVID-19, businesses, brokers and providers have worked tirelessly to boost business opportunities. The finalists and eventual winners at this year’s awards should be rightly proud of their achievements and have offered a range of products and services that have best supported the sector, at a time when its success and growth remain ever vital to the recovery of the wider economy.”

Click here to view all the winners from the 2022 awards.

Introducing Bluestone: Kate Walker

Regional Account Manager, Anglia and South Midlands

“Because we can arrange finance for just about any asset and offer a wide range of finance products from asset finance to commercial loans and invoice discounting, no two days are the same, and I love that about my job.”

Kate joined Bluestone Leasing in 2018 and since then has become not only an integral member of our team, but also one of the most helpful and friendly people in the office. After 3 years in an internal account management role, in 2021 Kate’s experience and hardworking approach led to a new role as our regional account manager for Anglia and the South Midlands.

The early days and education

Kate grew up in Wakefield in West Yorkshire which, we are proud to say, is also where you’ll find Bluestone Leasing’s head office. While her earliest memory is being “taught” how to ride a bike at the age of 4 (“I was pushed down a hill, steered around a tree and crashed into a stone garage at the bottom!”), Kate’s favourite pastime was playing the popular trading card game, ‘Magic the Gathering’.

At school, Kate discovered a talent and interest in science and had an early ambition to become a vet, but that did not go to plan.

“Unfortunately, as it turns out I am allergic to most animals so that idea went out the window!”

Kate worked at McDonalds throughout college and much of university where she studied biology and chemistry. When asked who she most admires, her answer is Carl Sagan, the American astronomer, planetary scientist, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astrobiologist, author, and science communicator.

“Carl Sagan was not only an incredibly intelligent man, he was also well known for his extreme kindness.”

The world of work and Bluestone

After university, Kate worked in science and medical research for some time, but after deciding that she would be better suited to a more personable role, she made the move into the finance industry.

“From my first interview with Bluestone I could tell that it would be a great place to work. The people I met were so engaging and respectful to their staff, and the people there seemed genuinely happy to be in the business.”

A little more about Kate

Kate’s approach to work, and life, is a positive one as she tries “not to dwell on things that won’t be important this time next year”. One of her biggest pet peeves is lateness, and she always wants to be as helpful to others as she can whether in her personal or professional life.

If Kate could change one thing about the world it would be to prevent the destruction of wildlife habitats. When not at work, Kate likes to plan a city break with her significant other, and she hopes one day to be able to trek around Yosemite or Yellowstone National Park in the US.

“I am here to help the businesses in my region secure funding for the assets they need to grow and succeed whether that’s investing telecoms, an office fitout, IT, reprographics, LED lighting, or anything else that gets them where they need to be.”

If you would like Kate’s help to finance a new project in your business or to offer finance as a payment option to your customers, get in touch today.

Earth Day 2022: Investing in Our Planet and Your Business’ Future

Today, Friday 22nd April 2022, is Earth Day. Dating back to 1970, EARTHDAY.ORG’s mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide. EARTHDAY.ORG is the world’s largest recruiter to the environmental movement, working with more than 150,000 partners in over 192 countries to drive positive action for our planet. By rallying the efforts of businesses, governments, and individual citizens around a particular date the organisation aims to stimulate real action and longer-term change.

This Earth Day’s focus is the need to ‘Invest in our planet’. There is no getting away from the fact that making significant progress towards a net-zero future will not happen without spending money. However, in many cases it is the need for expenditure that delays or prevents investment in renewable energy. As a business owner in the present economic climate, reducing carbon emissions may feel like a non-essential project, or something that can be dealt with later when you have more cash in the bank.

In reality, it is possible to take that first step towards a greener business without parting with a large amount of cash. Renewable technology that will reduce your business’ carbon emissions and running costs can be financed, spreading the cost of the investment over time. In many cases, businesses are able to cover their finance repayments with the money they save on their energy costs. We know that energy prices are rising steeply and likely to continue to do so, squeezing businesses of all sizes of their profit margins.

Here we outline some of the most effective ways that you can invest in both the future of your business and our planet.

Install LED lighting

Switching to LED lighting in your business could reduce your carbon footprint and save you a significant amount of money on your energy costs. LEDs (light emitting diodes) use less energy, last longer, and produce a better quality of light than traditional lighting. In fact, LED lighting could reduce your annual energy consumption by at least 50%.

  • LED lighting is significantly more energy-efficient than many traditional lighting systems as it produces more ‘useful lumens’, i.e., less of the energy consumed by the light is wasted through heat dissipation. This makes LED lighting at least 50% cheaper to power, depending on the type of lighting being replaced.
  • LED lighting uses electricity more efficiently, so your business’ energy consumption and therefore your impact on the planet should reduce by at least 50%.
  • LED lighting lasts longer. After 25,000 hours traditional lighting will be operating at less than 80% of its potential output. An LED lightbulb lasts, on average, for 50,000 hours and, if used efficiently, for as long as 100,000 hours.
  • LED lights do not include mercury like fluorescent and mercury vapor lights, so they do not require the same maintenance or management at the end of their life.
  • LED lighting provides a better quality of light providing improved visibility and colour clarity, safer working conditions for staff and improved security and CCTV footage.

Click here for more information on installing LED lighting.

Install solar panels

Solar panels convert natural energy from sunlight into free electricity for your business. Unlike electricity generated through traditional methods, solar electricity is carbon free. This not only reduces electricity costs in the present but will also protect businesses from future rises in energy prices.

Commercial solar panels are installed on the roof of a business’ premises where they will exposed to as much sunlight as possible. The cells in the panels capture the sun’s energy which is then converted to usable electricity for the business to use. As most businesses carry out their activities during the day, which is when solar panels will produce the most energy, the resulting electricity savings can be significant.

There are several advantages for businesses when it comes to solar panels, including but not limited to:

  • Considerable electricity cost savings
  • Financial stability and energy security/flexibility
  • A greatly reduced carbon footprint
  • Improved public perception of your business through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Click here for more information on installing solar panels.  

Switch to an electric vehicle fleet

If your business has a fleet of petrol or diesel vehicles, switching to an electric fleet could slash your emissions overnight. Electric vehicles produce zero tailpipe emissions and are usually significantly cheaper to run than their fossil fuel counterparts.

Electric vehicles are better for the planet

Vehicles that run on fossil fuels like petrol and diesel emit carbon from their exhaust, a major greenhouse gas that is causing our planet’s climate to change, as well as air pollutants like sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) – all of which all harmful to our health. The combustion engines in petrol and diesel cars are also responsible for a lot of noise pollution. EVs run on batteries rather than fossil fuels which means they don’t emit vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the air from their tailpipes (a major cause of climate change). They are also much quieter when running which helps to reduce the noise pollution on our roads.

Electric vehicles are the future

The UK government has a target for all new cars and vans sold in the UK to be electric by 2030, and cities are beginning implementing Clean Air Zones; vehicles exceeding emissions standards will have to pay to travel through a Clean Air Zone. Bath and Birmingham have already established Clean Air Zones, with many more set to follow suit in the coming years.

Electric vehicles are cheaper to run

Fuel is typically the second biggest vehicle-related cost for businesses and can account for as much as 25%-30% of fleet expenditure. Fuelling an electric car can cost up to 90% less than fuelling a traditional car as you can fuel an electric car from just 2p per mile. This is much cheaper than the 10-12p per mile it costs to fuel a petrol or diesel car.

Electric vehicles are exempt from first year road tax and may unlock other tax benefits

Vehicle road tax is based on carbon dioxide emissions, and as fully electric cars do not produce emissions, they are exempt from first year road tax. Some plug-in hybrid electric cars with CO2 emissions less than 100 g/km, may need to pay anything from £0-£135 per year depending on the levels of CO2 emissions.

Drivers of fully electric company vehicles incur a Benefit In Kind tax of 1% in 2021-22 rising to 2% in 2022-23. Vehicles with emissions of less than 50g/km are also eligible for 100% first year capital allowances. This means with electric cars, you can deduct the full cost from your pre-tax profits. On a car costing around £40,000 this could amount to a tax relief of £7,600 in the first year.

Electric vehicles are cheaper to maintain

Electric vehicle engines have just three main components – the on-board charger, inverter and motor – and far fewer moving parts. This means that Service, maintenance and repair (SMR) costs for plug-in vehicles can be significantly lower than internal combustion engines.

Electric vehicles are exempt from congestion charges

If your vehicles are travelling in areas where Clean Air Zones exist or are about to be introduced, then this also adds to the savings of going electric.

Click here for more information on switching to an electric fleet.  

Ready to invest in our planet?

Whether you are seriously considering an investment in renewable technology or not, other businesses of just about every size and in every sector are taking action now. Just recently the technology giant Intel has pledged to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in its global operations by 2040, through renewable energy procurement, green chemical trials and a $300m energy savings investment. Following on from the launch of an all-electric refrigerated trailer at Sainsbury’s, Aldi UK has now begun trials of a similar vehicle fitted with kinetic energy generation.

At Bluestone Leasing, we are committed to helping UK businesses to cut their carbon footprint by making smart investments now and in the future. If you would like to spread the cost of solar panels, electric vehicles and charge points, LED lighting, or any other renewable assets that will reduce your carbon footprint, get in touch today.

Top 4 Accounting Tips for the New Financial Year

The new financial year of 2022/23 began on 6th April and will run until April 5th next year, bringing with it several changes for individuals, families and businesses across the UK. This includes the fact that the tax break in England has been steadily unwound. Over the past 9 months businesses were receiving a 66 per cent reduction of their rates up to £2m per firm. This was scaled back to a 50 per cent reduction with a cap of £110,000 per business on April 1.

Alongside the rise in interest rates from 0.5 to 0.75 per cent due to inflation, clever accounting has never been more important for businesses. Here our very own management accountant, Ryan Pape, shares his top 4 accounting tips that any business can keep in mind, no matter their sector or size.

1. Use brokers

At Bluestone we use brokers for our telecoms, insurance, and energy. They make the process easier by doing more of the leg work and can save you money. Make sure to do your research on who you are working with. Price is important – but good service is essential.

2. Review your contracts

Check if you are still in contract with your suppliers. If not, contact them right away and/or identify when they come to an end and start negotiations early if appropriate. It can be something as simple as your photocopier. We noticed we weren’t printing anywhere near as much due to clients printing documentation at home, the movement towards accepting e-sign and scanned copies as original documentation and more of our marketing material is becoming digital. The contract was initially set up with a minimum print amount at a specific rate to save cost, but we weren’t printing that much anymore so it was costing us over what it should have.

We renegotiated the contract, got a new copier, the cost of which was offset by the savings we made within 10months, and we will now benefit from a saving over the remaining 14 months of the agreement.

3. Move to digital

Businesses across the world have moved as much as they can to digital systems due to the pandemic. Don’t be afraid to move those last physical files and systems you still use; we have been able to complete our audit fully remote this year. Granting the auditors guest access allows them to use the same folder structure we use. Gone are the days of putting the auditors in a small meeting room with the air-con cranked up. If they can do more remotely and spend less time on the audit, you may see a fee saving or a smaller increase than there would have been otherwise. We also use a digital expenses software which makes the submission and processing of expenses so much easier than handling a printout of an excel spreadsheet with several receipts stapled to it.

4. Cash is king

Review your debtor controls. Are you chasing regularly enough? Are debtors taking longer than they should to pay and, if so, why? How are you chasing? I encourage my team to speak to debtors instead of email where possible as in my experience the debtor is more likely to pay. They will be more forthcoming over the phone if they are having financial difficulty and you can work together to come to a solution that works for both parties.

Where appropriate use finance for capital expenditure instead of tying your cash up, as you can then use that cash to grow your headcount or to fund items that you are unable to finance, although you’ll be surprised how many assets can be financed!

What you could do with your cash if you leased more of your business’ assets? Would you…

  • Invest in research and development?
  • Launch a new product?
  • Boost your marketing strategy?
  • Buy more stock?
  • Hire or promote essential staff?
  • Protect your business against unforeseen circumstances (like a pandemic-induced lockdown) with an emergency fund?

Leasing can be a powerful funding tool for businesses of any size. You could get the assets your business needs to succeed now, spread the cost via regular affordable payments, keep hold of your cash to further growth (or maintain liquidity), and potentially unlock big tax savings.

If you would like to speak to one of our friendly team about how finance could help your business to grow, get in touch at info@bluestoneleasing.com.

Tax Relief Update: Deadlines Extended for AIA & Super Deduction

Headlines The Annual Investment Allowance of £1,000,000, which had been due to revert to £200,000 at the start of 2022, has been extended until the end of March 2023. The Super deduction tax relief, which had been due to end in December 2022, will remain in place until March 2023. Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) What … Continue reading Tax Relief Update: Deadlines Extended for AIA & Super Deduction

Bank of England Announces Rise in Interest Rate: How Could it Impact Your Business?

The Bank of England has raised interest rates for the fourth time since December 2021 to 1% – the highest level in 13 years – but what does this mean for UK businesses? And is there anything they can do to minimise the financial impact on their operation? Who makes the decision to increase interest … Continue reading Bank of England Announces Rise in Interest Rate: How Could it Impact Your Business?

Introducing Bluestone: Nick Sharp

Regional Account Manager, North West

Nick is our regional account manager for the North West. Since joining Bluestone Leasing in 2019, Nick has established himself as an outgoing, highly client-focused and dedicated member of the sales team.

“It’s my job to support customers and partners as they make finance work for their business. My role is not about hard selling, it’s about consulting with people and going the extra mile. I want to build good longstanding relationships that go beyond a single project.”

The early days

Nick spent his childhood and teenage years in Winchester. He started playing football at the age of 5 and by his teens he was playing in youth teams for Chelsea and Southampton, and had an early ambition of entering the professional football industry, either as a player or as a talent scout.

Nick still plays football in his free time, but when it came to choosing a career after college, he pursued a different career path.

The world of work

Nick moved to London and spent 6 years working in the property development industry.

“It was always my plan to get some sales experience in London, but then move up north, as my dad and extended family are based in Leeds. When I moved up north I worked in recruitment for around a year before being offered the opportunity the join Bluestone. It seemed like a great place to work and I could tell from my interview that the team were engaging and supportive.”

What does the future hold for Nick?

Nick likes to holiday anywhere sunny, and one day he would love to experience an African safari trip, but what does he want to be remembered for?

“Just as someone who was fun to be around. And I’ve been told that I’m a great dancer. They might just be nice people, but I like to think I’ve got some moves.”

When it comes to his work with Bluestone, Nick is keen to help as many businesses in the north west of England to grow and thrive as he can.

Whether you are considering using finance to invest in assets or a new project, or you would like to give your customers the option to pay via finance, get in touch with Nick today.

nick.sharp@bluestoneleasing.com

Finance Leases for Academies Are Changing in 2022

From 1st September 2022 some important changes to government restrictions around finance leases for academies are expected to come into effect. Here we explain what’s changing and how the news could impact the financial strategy of UK schools. 

PLEASE NOTE: These changes may be reviewed in the future and so may be subject to change.

Leasing for schools

Leasing enables schools to acquire the equipment they need to thrive and advance by spreading the cost over time.

Historically schools have been restricted in this area, i.e., they have only been able to enter into what is known as an operating lease. As only a limited number of funders offer this type of lease, schools were limited in their choice of funder and the interest rates available to them. 

In addition, in the type of assets that could be leased were generally restricted to IT equipment.

What’s changing?

From 1st September 2022 these restrictions are expected to change for academies enabling them to enter into other types of minimum term and fixed finance leases (excluding hire purchase). Other types of schools such as LEA controlled schools are expected to be able to access the same range of lease arrangements from 1st April 2024, but this is subject to government confirmation.

This change in regulations means that academies will have more choice in terms of the type of finance leases they can use to support their operation without additional administrative burdens. This in turn means access to a wider pool of funders and, potentially, more competitive interest rates.

The changes will also bring about a change in terms of the types of assets that can be leased, i.e., there is now much more flexibility and choice.

What type of assets will be eligible?

The government has issued a list of eligible assets that will be able to be financed under the new regulations. If the leased assets are included in the categories below, they will not require submission to the Department for approval:   

  • IT equipment (e.g. laptops, tablets, desktop computers, printers, photocopiers, servers, door entry security systems, CCTV Systems, whiteboards/touch screen boards) 
  • Telephony (e.g. mobile phones, landline phones, telephone systems) 
  • Catering equipment (e.g. tills, water coolers, vending machines, dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, fridges, freezers, water boilers, small kitchen appliances, crockery/cutlery) 
  • Furniture (e.g. desks, tables, chairs) 
  • Bathroom/sanitary Items (e.g. hand dryers, towel dispensers, sanitary bins) 
  • Gym equipment (e.g. treadmills, free weights/weight machines, rowing machines, exercise bikes) 
  • Grounds keeping equipment (e.g. lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers, salt spreaders) 
  • Minibuses and other vehicles for the use of the school 
  • Temporary classrooms and equivalent structures.

If the assets you wish to finance are not included in the above list, then Secretary of State approval will be required.

Next steps…

If your academy is in need of new equipment or assets that fall into the eligible categories, leasing could enable you to get what you need sooner rather than later without budgetary constraints. Rather than parting with a chunk of your cash all at once or delaying essential equipment upgrades, a lease enables you to spread the cost over a period of time via an affordable payment plan.

Bluestone Leasing has over 25 years of experience in arranging bespoke finance solutions for schools, colleges and universities, enabling them to acquire the assets their pupils and staff need to fulfil their potential.

To request a call-back from one of our knowledgeable and friendly team, send us a message using the form below. Whether you are planning to invest in new assets soon or are simply interested in finding out more about leasing in general, we will get back to you as soon as possible.

Introducing Bluestone: Mo Zar

Mo is our regional account manager for the south-central region. Having founded and run his own successful business in the past, and with plenty of professional experience in the commercial finance industry, Mo is perfectly positioned to guide his clients towards the best possible finance solutions for their business. 

‘I am here to help customers and partners to make the right decisions for their business through my financial knowledge and experience. I find it fascinating to meet and create relationships with diverse business owners to understand their business and future objectives. I know first-hand how important it is to be honest, transparent, meet agreed timeframes and generally be reliable.’

The early days

Born and raised in Surrey, where he spent much of his time playing sports, and generally ‘being mischievous’. In addition to an obsession with aeronautics, young Mo had a childhood dream of becoming a pilot. 

‘I used to visit the local newsagents every Saturday to get a catalogue on aircraft. I was fascinated with how they worked and liked the idea of being able to travel all over the world. I also enjoyed reading books as I felt I could transport myself to other worlds. I was inquisitive, and one of my favourite parts of school was being able to do science experiments.’

Mo was able to put his interest in science to practical use as his first part-time job was putting microscopes together in an engineering company which were then sold to the science industry. 

The world of work

Mo began his career working for a leading IT reseller providing clients with IT Infrastructure solutions based on technologies such as Cisco, 3Com and Compaq and spent many successful years at Cisco, the market leader in smart networks, wireless  and telephony solutions, winning new channel partners and successfully managing partner relationships. 

Soon after the smoking ban in 2007, Mo and a business partner recognised an opportunity to bring a range of e-cigarettes to market. Together they started and ran the first company to sell e-cigarettes to market in England, Ireland, and Europe.  

‘We had a lot of success, but after several years of travelling and working long hours, I made the choice to sell my shares in the company and take a sabbatical. I got married, and my wife and I took some time out to travel the world. We saw some incredible places including North Africa, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.’ 

On his return to the UK, Mo started working for a company that specialised in invoice factoring. He then moved to focus on asset finance, joining the Bluestone team in 2020. 

‘I could tell from my first interview with Bluestone I would be joining not just a well-established company with an excellent reputation, rather a team with an open, supportive and positive team spirit.’

The future

Mo prides himself on his honesty, dislikes pretence and always gives his best no matter what he is doing. In both his personal and professional life, Mo tries to maintain long-term relationships and is known for being a great listener, family, friends, and clients often come to him for advice when they are facing challenges.

‘I am a self-driven person and I enjoy challenges, as well as being able to make a difference by helping businesses to move forward with the right financial strategy.’