GDPR Aide Memoire for Sole Traders and Small Businesses

GDPR Aide Memoire for Sole Traders and Small Businesses

As sole traders and owners of a small business return to our desks at the dawn of 2019, it is time to review our Data Protection requirements.  The new EU rule, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) became law in May 2018, there is still a great deal of confusion at SME and sole trader level.

Many small businesses do not have the time or resources to ensure they fully comply with the new GDPR requirements as it requires several obligations around data security and data usage.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has published an eight question checklist  aimed at helping sole traders and self-employed individuals assess their compliance with new data protection laws.  A copy of the questions and accompanying notes is available on our website and can by accessed by following the GDPR checklist link

The ICO said its checklist is aimed at improving understanding of data protection and making sure sole traders are keeping people’s personal data secure.  The checklist will help sole traders understand how compliant they are and provides links to relevant ICO guidance and further information as well as practical suggestions on how to stay in line with the law.

Helpline and resources
The new Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force in May and applies to all businesses that hold and use customer data.
Fines for those who break it can be significant reaching go up to €20m or 4% of annual global turnover.
A range of resources is available on the ICO website while sole traders and small businesses can also contact the dedicated ICO helpline on 0303 123 1113.

If you would like a copy of the checklist in word, PDF or excel format please contact the team at Elite Corporate Solutions on 01482 635400 or to request a call back please click this link to take you to our contact form.

 

What is the difference between a broker and a lender?
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Christmas Opening Hours

Christmas Opening Hours

We would like to thank all our loyal clients, introducers and partners for working with us in 2018.

Christmas Opening Hours:
Friday 21st                     9am to 1pm
Christmas Eve               9am to 1pm
Christmas Day                         Closed
Boxing Day                               Closed
Thursday 27th       10am to 3.30pm
Friday 28th             10am to 3.30pm
New Years Eve        10am to 3.30pm
New Years Day                          Closed
Wednesday 2nd              9am to 6pm

“Helping you and your business make the right funding decisions”

ECS Group continue to work with a wide range of innovative lenders enabling us to offer our advisors and clients an unparalleled range of funding facilities. Enabling us to meet all our existing and new clients current and future cashflow, capital and investment needs.

If you would need to speak to a member of the team over the Christmas period please call us on

 01482 635400 or to request a call back please click this link to take you to our contact form.

(Calls may be diverted to voicemail over the Christmas period but all calls will be picked up within a maximum of five working hours) 


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Easy access to Unsecured Business Loans for instant working capital

Easy access to Unsecured Business Loans for instant working capital

Almost all businesses will need to borrow money at some point in their life.  Whether you are a brand new Start up business looking for some working capital to establish yourself, or a large established business exploring new markets or need to fund the cost of that new contract.

Whilst your bank may be willing to look at assisting you up to a certain point, once past their comfort zone the barrier goes up or you need to secure the loan against property.

We have access to a wealth of unsecured business loan providers and with our experience we can identify the most suitable lender for you.

We can source funds for

  • New business start ups
  • Existing business with as little as 6 months trading
  • Amounts from £500 to £500,000
  • Terms from 1 month to 10 years
  • Interest rates starting from as low as 3%
  • Decision within 24 hours of full application
  • Funds released within a few days
  • Less than perfect credit history

Businesses are no longer limited to the decision of their bank manager when it comes to raising capital for their business.  Our managers work closely with specialist short term, unsecured lenders, peer-to-peer or crowdfunding lenders, lenders who only work with intermediaries and banks or private investors who are able to make a decision based on the requirement and potential of the business without being tied to automated decision making.

See below for a few examples of lenders policies for unsecured, short term loans.

Lender

ECS011 ECS019 ECS166 ECS223
Loan Amount £3k – £500k £25k – £100k £500 – £25k £10k – £250k
Term 6m – 5 yrs 1m > 12m – 5 yrs 1m – 15m
Age of Business 2 yrs accounts Min 6 months Under 6 months Min 2 years
Early Repayment No penalty No penalty No Penalty No Penalty
Personal Guarantee Yes Yes Yes Not Required

These are just a sample of the lenders who support SMEs where their main bank has not been able to support them.

If you have any clients who require cash quickly and have a profitable business or strong projections (borrowers do need to be able to demonstrate they can afford to repay the finance), please contact us with a brief overview of your clients needs and we will do the rest.

(a fee may be charged direct to the client.  This will be fully discussed and advised before any commitment is made by the client)

If you have any questions regarding buy to let borrowing please contact a member of the team on 01482 635400 or click the “Contact Us” button below to send a message to us.


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Business Peer-to-Peer Business Loan lending up 65%

Business Peer-to-Peer Business Loan lending up 65%

“P2P Business Lending is becoming an increasingly important contributor to overall SME financing in the UK,” a report by the CCAF says.

The total UK online alternative finance market grew to £6.19bn in 2017, up 35% on 2016 (£4.6bn), according to research conducted by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) who recently released “The fifth UK Alternative Finance Industry Report.”

The report confirms that P2P business lending had become an increasingly important part of financing for smaller businesses and was conducted with support from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association and the UK Crowdfunding Association, which included responses from 75 platforms.

The report found that Peer-to-peer business lending accounts for the largest proportion of the total market, with SMEs borrowing £2bn through these platforms last year, a 65% increase on 2016.

Sector by sector:
Business Lending to SMEs     £2bn
Consumer Lending                  £1.4bn
P2P Property lending             £1.2bn
Invoice Discounting                £0.79bn

The value of equity-based crowdfunding transactions rose 22 per cent last year to £333m, the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance said, with 49% of equity-based crowdfunding coming from venture capital funds and professional investors co-investing with retail investors.

Peer-to-Peer is also proving attractive to large institutions, with 40% of the funding of Peer-to-Peer business lending coming from mutual funds, pension funds, asset managers, banks, family offices and other financial institutions.

Bryan Zhang, executive director at CCAF, said: “This report reflects an industry that is playing an increasingly important role in helping consumers and businesses access finance, while growing to become more diversified, sophisticated and institutionalised.”

The team at Elite Corporate Solutions can help identify the most suitable form of finance. Where Peer-to-Peer is the most suitable option we can work with you and the lender to produce a professional pitch to investors.

If you would like to find out more about Peer-to-Peer or Crowdfunding please contact the team on 01482 635400 or to request a call back please click this link to take you to our contact form. 


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HMO mandatory licence changes with effect from 1st October 2018

HMO mandatory licence changes with effect from 1st October 2018

Mandatory HMO Licensing scheme is changing from Monday 1st October.

If you are a landlord with shared properties, the new changes may affect you.

Main Changes
1. Extension of Mandatory Licensing
2. Introduction of minimum room sizes
3. New rules for rubbish

Extension of Mandatory Licencing

What Properties are affected?
– Any property rented to FIVE or more people
– From two or more separate households
– Sharing basic amenities such as shared kitchen, bathroom lounge etc.
– Number of storeys are irrelevant (previously three or more storeys)

Are there any exclusions?
Yes. Even if the HMO meets the above criteria they may be excluded from mandatory licencing. E.G.
– Purpose-built, multi-occupancy flats in a block of 3 or more self-contained flats
– Converted blocks of flats classified as Section 257 HMOs.
(check with local authority for local rules re HMO licencing)

What Type of Licence is Required?
Most qualifying properties will require a Mandatory HMO licence, however local rules vary so check with the local authority to see if an Additional Licence or Selective Licence is required. If you already have an additional or selective licence, you do not need to reapply until the existing licence expires.

What do I need to do and when?
If your HMO requires a new Mandatory Licence under the new criteria you must:
– Apply to the local authority for a licence for each HMO BEFORE 1 OCTOBER 2018
– Failure to apply for a licence is a criminal offence, which may lead to criminal prosecution or a Local Authority fine of up to £30,000.

What else is changing from 1st October?

Introduction of minimum bedroom size

Why is a minimum bedroom size being introduced?
– To tackle over-crowding in HMOs,
– Under a new mandatory HMO licence from 1 October landlords cannot let a bedroom if it doesn’t meet the minimum requirement.
– Cannot use communal space within the HMO to make up for a bedroom that is deemed too small.
(If you have a current licence, you do not need to comply with this rule until the licence expires. The local authority can extend this period up to 18 months).

What is the minimum Bedroom size?

The new rules set three statutory minimum sizes, but your local authority has the discretion to increase these. Check with the local authority for clear guidance.

Statutory sizes
Firstly, any part of a bedroom with a ceiling height of less than 1.5m is discounted when measuring.

The following table shows the minimum sizes.
No of people Sleeping           Age                  Minimum Bedroom Size
1                        Over 10 years                  6.51m2
2                        Over 10 years                10.22m2
1                      Under 10 years                  4.64m2

It is the Landlords responsibility to tell the local authority about any room in the HMO with a floor area less than this minimum.

Local Authorities have the righto to inspect the property if they are not happy with the information provided on the Mandatory Licence Application.

I already have a Licence

– If you already have a mandatory, selective or additional HMO licence, you won’t need to comply until it expires.
– If in doubt about anything talk to your local housing authority, especially if you think your property might not be compliant with the new rules.

Do you need finance to pay for alterations to your property to comply with the new rules?

If you need to undertake work to your HMO to comply with the new minimum bedroom sizes, it is likely the local authority will give you some additional time to comply.

There are a number of options to consider when raising finance. If the property is in your own name this may include a Personal Unsecured Loan, or a loan secured on your home (1st or 2nd charge).

Alternatively, you may wish to raise funds against the investment property whether this is in your own name or in the name of a limited company. Again, this may be an unsecured loan or a secured loan against the property (1st or 2nd charge). The sooner you talk to your lender or a specialist in raising commercial finance, the better.

Please call me on 01482 635400 or click the link to and a member of the team will be in touch if you have any questions around HMO, student lets or standard Buy-to-Let property finance.

The other major change from Monday 1st October 2018 is around Waste Disposal

From 1 October 2018, a mandatory HMO licence will include the requirement for landlords to comply with the council’s storage and waste disposal scheme.

Why?
– HMOs typically produce more rubbish than single family homes
– government wants to ensure all waste is disposed of properly.

It is the Landlords responsibility to ensure:
– The HMO has sufficient waste disposal facilities inside and out
– The occupiers know what waste goes in which bin
– Which day to put out the rubbish
– Ensure the bins are not obstructing the pavement.

Check with your local council for details of their specific scheme.

If you would like to find out more about HMO or other Investment Property Finance please contact the team on 01482 635400 or to request a call back please click this link to take you to our contact form.


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Need help with Cashflow over Christmas?

Need help with Cashflow over Christmas?

Cashflow Finance is wrongly seen as a lending facility favoured by businesses in trouble, however the majority of businesses seeing the most benefit of opting for to use invoice discounting or factoring instead of a traditional overdraft facility is the ability to take on new or larger contracts to enable the business to grow.

North East companies have billions of pounds tied up in excess working capital which could be used to fund growth, according to new research by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

The report warns that businesses could be left ill-prepared to deal with unforeseen opportunities and challenges as a result.

Lloyds analysed 5,000 UK businesses and found those in the North East have about £116.4bn tied up in working capital, the equivalent of 8.9 per cent of their total revenue.

Simon Quin, area director for global transaction banking in the North East of England, said: “Revenue growth is good news for any business, but to improve efficiency is going to take investment and that requires cash flow. “Small firms in particular are taking even longer to free up cash from things like inventory and unpaid invoices. The longer that money remains unavailable, the less firms can invest in growth, new machinery or pay down debts.”

Nationally, the amount of money tied up in working capital jumped by 37 per cent in the past 12 months to £680bn.
A business owed £100,000 by its clients could raise £80,000 to facilitate growth and take on additional staff or source stock at more preferential rates by buying in bulk or paying their suppliers quicker.

We have access to most cashflow finance providers, many of who only deal with intermediaries and specialise in sectors that traditional lenders tend to avoid. If you would like to find out more about cashflow finance please contact the team on 01482 635400 or click this link to take you to our contact form.

Source of information for this article was first published on 21st May 2018 by Insider Media.

Please contact a member of the team on 01482 635400 or click here to leave your details and a member of the team will contact you to review your Working Capital requirements with you at any time.

 


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HMO mandatory licence changes with effect from 1st October 2018

Buy-to-Let Landlords facing re-mortgage issues

Many buy-to-let landlords with two and three year fixed deals that are coming to an end at the moment and early 2019 are facing difficulties in their quest to remortgage their property.

A number of landlords obtained two or three year fixed rate mortgages in March 2016, looking to avoid the 3% surcharge being introduced for new buy-to-let and second home acquisitions a month later.

As the end of these existing deals is rapidly approaching, it is evident that many landlords will struggle to refinance.  Many will therefore automatically be transferred on to the standard variable rate set by their lenders, which tends to be significantly more expensive.

Why, I only want to Re-mortgage at the same level?

Compared to two years ago when the attractive mortgage deals were agreed, there are now much tighter lender criteria that may prevent landlords from securing new deals.

With a significant lack of refinancing options and the difficulty in finding the finances that they need, Greg May, director of financial services at Romans, is among those that believes many landlords will now exit the private rented sector.

May said: “Landlords who bought before the stamp duty increase in 2016, are not only at risk of overpaying by being automatically transferred to the lender’s standard variable rate product, but may also find securing a new deal increasingly difficult due to the changes in mortgage lending criteria.”

May added: “Landlords who borrowed at the higher end of the loan to value threshold are likely to feel the changes to lending criteria the most.  “Those who are unable to remortgage may be able to transfer onto a different product with their current lender but this does mean that their options are extremely limited.

“Ideally, landlords want to be able to pick between a number of different products from a variety of lenders in order to find the right deal for their circumstance.”

The team at Elite Corporate Solutions have access to a broad range of lenders who offer flexibility for landlords who are looking to re-mortgage at the end of a fixed term loan and can help save you thousands of pounds.

Please contact a member of the team on 01482 635400 or click here to leave your details and a member of the team will contact you to review your Buy-to-Let mortgage. 


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Buy-to-Let landlords to face re-mortgage issues

Buy-to-Let landlords to face re-mortgage issues

Many buy-to-let landlords with two and three year fixed deals that are coming to an end at the moment and early 2019 are facing difficulties in their quest to remortgage their property.

A number of landlords obtained two or three year fixed rate mortgages in March 2016, looking to avoid the 3% surcharge being introduced for new buy-to-let and second home acquisitions a month later.

As the end of these existing deals is rapidly approaching, it is evident that many landlords will struggle to refinance.  Many will therefore automatically be transferred on to the standard variable rate set by their lenders, which tends to be significantly more expensive.

Why will it be difficult?  I only want to Re-mortgage at the same level?

Compared to two years ago when the attractive mortgage deals were agreed, there are now much tighter lender criteria that may prevent landlords from securing new deals.

With a significant lack of refinancing options and the difficulty in finding the finances that they need, Greg May, director of financial services at Romans, is among those that believes many landlords will now exit the private rented sector.

May said: “Landlords who bought before the stamp duty increase in 2016, are not only at risk of overpaying by being automatically transferred to the lender’s standard variable rate product, but may also find securing a new deal increasingly difficult due to the changes in mortgage lending criteria.”

May added: “Landlords who borrowed at the higher end of the loan to value threshold are likely to feel the changes to lending criteria the most.  “Those who are unable to remortgage may be able to transfer onto a different product with their current lender but this does mean that their options are extremely limited.

“Ideally, landlords want to be able to pick between a number of different products from a variety of lenders in order to find the right deal for their circumstance.”

The team at Elite Corporate Solutions have access to a broad range of lenders who offer flexibility for landlords who are looking to re-mortgage at the end of a fixed term loan and can help save you thousands of pounds

Please call us on 01482 890561 or leave your details click here and a member of the team will contact you to review your Buy-to-Let mortgage rate at any time.


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Creditors face the prospect of 1p in the Pound as the full picture emerges following the collapse of Carillion.

Creditors face the prospect of 1p in the Pound as the full picture emerges following the collapse of Carillion.

If you have been impacted by the collapse of Carillion and have wages to pay, mortgage commitments to meet or your own supplier’s invoices are due it is essential that you act quickly to protect your business and ensure your own liabilities are met…..  Read moreThe collapse of Carillion has been devastating news for many small businesses across the country & recent indications that creditors could be facing the prospect of recovering as little as 1p in the £1 could result in many SMEs hitting cashflow problems and potentially going to the wall themselves.

Whilst it is impossible wave that magic wand and recover funds that are owed, it is likely that actions taken now to replace the missing working capital can help cover the short-term impact on the loss of both working capital and valuable contract.

 

Elite Corporate Solutions have access to the whole of market when businesses need additional working capital quickly.

If you have been impacted by the collapse of Carillion and have wages to pay, mortgage commitments to meet or your own supplier’s invoices are due it is essential that you act quickly to protect your business and ensure your own liabilities are met.

Whilst some banks are assisting client with emergency increases or flexibility to pay staff, not all SMEs have that luxury.  In many cases Elite Corporate Solutions can arrange additional working capital within a few days.

If the potential impact is going to put pressure on the business for a longer term we can review existing financial commitments and look to raise funds against assets or restructure existing debt to reduce monthly commitments.

However you have been affected by the collapse of Carillion or by any other business that has not paid an invoice you were relying on, call the team at Elite Corporate Solutions to discuss your concerns and let our experts help you resolve your cashflow concerns and get through the challenges with minimal disruption.

If you have a cashflow issue because you have not been paid on time contact us on 01482 635400 or click her

 

No solution in sight for UK’s productivity crisis as small businesses say it is not a priority

No solution in sight for UK’s productivity crisis as small businesses say it is not a priority

Productivity Crisis

By Anna Isaac, economics correspondent,
The Telegraph

Hopes that a “dynamic movement” among small firms could solve the UK’s prolonged productivity crisis have been dashed after business owners said it was not a priority.

Just 7pc plan to make it a priority next year, with SMEs citing the state of the UK economy as a much greater concern.

Economic growth will average just 1.4pc over the next five years, according to the OBR, down from the 1.8pc it predicted in March.

The findings dampen hopes that a bottom-up productivity transformation could solve the UK’s biggest economic headache.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, has argued that a “dynamic movement” involving thousands of businesses could add as much as £130bn in Gross Value Added to the UK economy each year.

Sir Charlie Bean, of the OBR, as well as the OECD think-tank have suggested that the productivity crisis is a far greater problem than Brexit for the UK.

Four times as many businesses are worried about a possible slowdown as a worry, a survey of more than 1,000 businesses by HSBC has shown.

It comes after productivity growth was revised down by the Office for Budget Responsibility for the seventh year in a row.

FAQ | Productivity

What is productivity?

Simply put, it’s the rate of output per unit of input expressed as the value per worker. The UK’s ONS measures this as the relationship between wage and labour costs on one hand and the value of goods and services on the other.

Is productivity important?

With low productivity, companies find it hard to award workers pay rises, so low productivity is associated with falling standards of living.

How is the UK’s productivity?

In short, not good. Low productivity has long been a bugbear of successive Labour and Conservative governments. In particular, the 2008 financial crisis put such a serious dent in productivity that the country endured almost a full decade of productivity stagnation.

UK productivity still remains some 30 per cent behind the United States and 18 per cent behind the G7 average.

What causes low productivity and can it be improved?

There are three factors that influence productivity and it’s useful to look at other national statistics to identify the correct culprit.

  • Investment capital, or lack of it
  • Technology, such as computer systems, assembly lines, transport and communications infrastructure
  • Human capital, for example a skills shortage or lack of organisational expertise
HULL WILL BE ‘INCREASINGLY CONFIDENT’ AFTER CITY OF CULTURE SUCCESS – GREEN

HULL WILL BE ‘INCREASINGLY CONFIDENT’ AFTER CITY OF CULTURE SUCCESS – GREEN

Hull will be an “increasingly confident” place to be in four years’ time as it continues to reap the economic benefits of its time as UK City of Culture, the man behind the year-long programme of events has told Insider. Martin Green said the event has “greatly exceeded” his expectations, discussed the responsibility of taking on the project and doled out advice to the Coventry 2021 team.

The city’s year-long stint as the successor to Derry/Londonderry 2013 is coming to an end, having hosted more than 2,000 events, exhibitions and cultural activities, and welcomed millions of visitors.

Nine out of ten residents have attended, or taken part in, an event as part of Hull 2017 and the city has welcomed more than £1bn of investment since securing the title four years ago.

Reflecting on the 12 months, Hull 2017 director and chief executive Martin Green has told Insider that the year “greatly exceeded” his expectations.

“I don’t think anyone could’ve conceived that it would take off in the way it did and keep that energy going right through the year,” he added. “It’s been down to the fact that the year has been a collective act; it hasn’t been driven by a single person or agency.

“The whole city came together on this. Whether it be the council, arts institutions, the police, health services or the public, everyone got on board and did their bit.

“They were paid back by the sheer volume of visitors we had.

“With something like this there’s always a danger that it is being done to those who live here, as oppose to for or with them, but there’s a real sense of ownership. They’ve embraced it.”

Regarding the initial reaction to Hull being named UK City of Culture back in 2013, Green said: “Cynicism is natural and good. It keeps everyone in check and gives you a huge sense of responsibility.

“I think there’s an enormous amount of energy in the city now and you can see that in the public realm works being done, the refurbished art gallery and theatre, Hull City Council being awarded £15m from the Heritage Lottery Fund with regards the Maritime City, more small businesses opening here over the past two years; plenty of stuff.

“You can’t lay all of this at door of the City of Culture success but when somewhere like Hull is in the spotlight, it’s noticed as people see the city in a way they never have done before.”

Asked whether Hull will still be feeling the benefits of 2017 four years down the line, Green said: “I hope so. It’s been a real economic driver so far.

“Businesses are reporting that they’re able to attract better staff, we’re building more housing; I expect you’d see an increasingly confident city in four years.”

Coventry was recently named as the successor to Hull as UK City of Culture, and will begin its 12-month reign on 1 January 2021.

Advising the team behind the initiative, Green said: “It’s simple; do it your own way.

“There’s no model or blueprint for something like this.

“If you’re going to speak for the city, you have to do it in the way the city wants, is capable of doing and how the infrastructure will allow.”

Earlier this month, two new names were appointed to take the reins at the organisation responsible for driving Hull’s City of Culture 2017 legacy.

Katy Fuller, currently executive producer at Hull 2017, and Emma Morris, who is a University of Hull alumnus and most recently executive director at Eastbourne’s Towner Art Gallery, joined the Culture Company as creative director and executive director respectively.