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At Rangewell, we’re expert in all types of business finance

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​​​​​​​Why the Government should stimulate the economy through local business groups

Why the Government should stimulate the economy through local business groups TL:DR  The downturn in the economy needs drastic measures. At Rangewell we believe that one way for the government to help stimulate the economy is through Chambers of Commerce, Growth Hubs and Local Enterprise Partnerships. They are in the ideal position to support the recovery of small businesses of all sizes - and could be instrumental in helping the economy as a whole get back onto its feet. At Rangewell, we are starting a campaign to provide the funding required - and we will be focussing on these vital local business groups to do it. The Covid crisis is now looking ready to run into its second year and the economic effects across the board remain painful.  Many business sectors have found themselves in lockdown once again – and even those businesses which are legally able to open their doors have reported a downturn. However, there is some good news. The UK economy has swerved a double-dip recession. A double-dip recession is when the economy shrinks, briefly recovers and then contracts again. The UK economy would need to shrink again for two consecutive quarters - or six months - to fall into double-dip recession territory. But it has still shrunk at its fastest rate in 300 years in 2020. Gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 9.9% over the course of the 12 months from January to December due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  Last year saw the country plunge into the "worst ever" recession before bouncing back and growing by 15.5% in the three months to September. To understand what this means, the record fall has, in effect, wiped out seven years of economic growth. The contraction in 2020 is the worst in modern records, with GDP first measured in the aftermath of the Second World War. The full impact of the crisis on jobs and businesses is currently being obscured by the government’s crisis funding schemes. CBILS and Bounce Back Loans have helped many businesses stay afloat that would otherwise have gone under, while the furlough scheme, offering 80% of salary to people unable to work because of the crisis, will only become fully apparent once the government starts to withdraw its support. But some observers have said that they expect unemployment to double from 4% to 8%, with the same number of companies likely to go bust. It comes after the Bank of England's chief economist announced his view that the UK economy is set to bounce back "like a coiled spring" after Brits saved up to £250billion during the pandemic lockdown. But experts say there is "still a mountain to climb" for the economy to fully recover from the pandemic. The UK remains under tight lockdown restrictions currently, with schools, pubs, restaurants and non-essential businesses shut and holidays banned, despite the PM having released his exit strategy from lockdown. Some offices which are allowed to stay open have shut with people working from home – those that have soldiered on have adopted social distancing. It means that all sectors of the economy are feeling the pinch in some form or another. The economy is almost 10% smaller than it was before the pandemic hit this time last year. What is the Chancellor doing? Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that he is worried, and admits that the economy has experienced a serious shock as a result of the pandemic and that the current lockdown continues to have a significant impact on many people and businesses. He remains committed to doing everything he can to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods. Of course, this has already involved tax concessions and even tax holidays, and huge expense in the form of furlough payments, CBILS lending and Bounce Back Loans. Many observers point out that this largesse will need to be paid for, and are expecting large tax hikes in the budget this spring. In the medium term, the prospects for recovery are actually exciting, with many people having built up a reserve of cash, and many new opportunities in the post-Brexit world. The Chancellor is not alone in suggesting that, in a year’s time, the growth could be in double digits – wiping out all the losses caused by the Coronavirus crisis. But the question remains, what should be down now? At Rangewell we want to offer a suggestion. Helping stimulate the economy – with the help of local business bodies At Rangewell, we believe that one way for the government to help stimulate the economy is through Chambers of Commerce, Growth Hubs and Local Enterprise Partnerships. These bodies cover the whole of the country and have their fingers firmly on the pulse of local businesses - and understand the scale of the opportunities they face in the future as well as the depth of the current challenges. We propose using the network of local business support groups to do two important tasks. The first is to share information - make sure every small business is presented with all the facts they need, from news about local opportunities such as council contracts to the connections they need to help network through the current rough patch. The second is to act as a focus for funding provision - the funding that businesses now so desperately need. We must declare an interest here. At Rangewell, we are leaders in the provision of funding for SME businesses. We can help businesses of all types and sizes - from one-person start-ups to large corporations - secure the funding they need. We work across the entire UK lending market, using a combination of personal contact and our advanced technology to find the most competitive and appropriate funding for each task.  As part of our service, we have established close working relationships with Chambers of Commerce, Growth Hubs and Local Enterprise Partnerships across the UK. We intend to use this relationship to allow these vital local business assets to act as a funding focus for the businesses in their area. To help us do this, we are calling on the government to provide their support to these vital business advisors in the form of grants. These will help fund the advice services they provide, allowing them to give struggling businesses expert support - and access to the funding that they need. We will be putting our proposals to the government ministers in the next few days. We hope to be able to update you with his detailed response to our thinking - we hope with the news that our ideas have been accepted In the meantime, if you are a business owner who is still experiencing challenges as a result of Covid - or have already identified ways to turn around your business, we may be able to find the funding you need. To find out more, call Rangewell for an informal discussion on 020 3318 2613 or email [email protected] Talk to Rangewell – the business finance experts

Why the Government should give tax breaks to small MBO / MBIs

Why the Government should give tax breaks to small MBO / MBI TL:DR Funding an MBO is always a challenge and that challenge is made all the more demanding by the fact that there may be a range of taxes to pay when a business changes hands. At Rangewell, we believe that MBOs and MBIs are a vital part of the evolution and development of any business. Not only are we committed to supporting businesses and helping them find the funds they need – and we are lobbying for government support to make MBOs successful by arranging tax breaks to support them. The UK is a good place to do business these days. Many business sectors, from games design to specialist automotive technology, have success stories to tell. But British business needs all the help it can get right now. With Brexit meaning some confusion, as well as new opportunities, and lockdown dragging on and putting the brakes on many businesses that should be forging ahead, the government needs to act. At Rangewell, we believe that one of the key changes that the Chancellor should be making right now is to create tax breaks for small MBO / MBIs. Looking at an MBO/MBI? Contact us today to get the most appropriate funding route for your plans  Just what are MBO / MBI – and what taxes do they currently involve? A Management Buyout, or MBO, involves the acquisition of a business by its existing management team. In most cases, this is done with the help of private equity or other external financing. It often occurs as a means of ensuring the continuation of the business on the retirement or departure of the founder and owner, who will naturally be expecting to be rewarded for the years of hard work they have put in. The managers continue to manage their business post-acquisition. Depending on the way the deal is structured, they may finance their buyout by debt or equity. In either case, they are seen as a relatively low-risk investment option. This is because the business is already established and the managers now running it know the business and the market that it operates in very well. Many businesses are given a new lease of life in this way, growing and thriving as energetic new owners contribute hard work and new ideas to make the most of their business. A Management Buy-In or MBI also involves a change of ownership for the business – but in the case of an MBI, the management team will be an external one. Experienced managers from outside the business who can see the potential it offers will provide finance to acquire ownership and control of the business. In some cases, an MBO will be combined with an MBI, bringing in external people to reinforce an existing management team. The costs will be directly comparable to what it would cost to buy the entire company. There are many ways to deal with these costs. Once a price has been agreed, it usually requires a combination of debt and equity that is derived from the buyers, financiers and sometimes even the seller, and can be structured in a number of ways, for example, a conventional purchase or even a Leveraged Buyout. Butt securing the funds may only be part of the challenge. A number of tax issues will arise for each of the parties involved in an MBO. The structure of an MBO in the UK will vary depending on the complexity of the transaction. The most basic structure is for a new company to be incorporated to buy the target business. This company acts as both the investment and the acquisition vehicle. More commonly, however, two or more grouped companies will be incorporated, each of which will have a different function within the acquiring group. One company will be the new group parent company post-acquisition (Newco 1) and another (Newco 2) will acquire Target and borrow money to finance the transaction. There may also be intermediate companies that raise finance. An experienced accountant team will be required to establish the most appropriate structure for the deal.  However, even with expert help, a number of tax issues can include income tax on shares issued to management and related PAYE and National Insurance contributions(NIC) liabilities. The precise nature of the tax charges will depend on how the MBO/MBI is structured, but the current position is that there is no tax relief available from capital gains tax (CGT), taper relief or enterprise investment relief (EIS). This can mean that the taxman is, in effect, putting the brakes on MBO/MBI activity. By taking what can be a substantial proportion of the available cash in the business, he may make a potentially viable MBO or similar deal much less attractive, and in some cases actually put what should be a viable business in a position where any kind of buyout is not viable for those concerned. What can be done to help? At Rangewell, we provide funding for all types of business needs – including MBOs and MBIs. We know that problems with tax can spell the end of what would be viable small companies – and we have come to the conclusion that in the current economic climate, the burden of tax is simply too great for some deals to go through. We want to propose to the Chancellor a tax concession. In a nutshell: For MBO/ MBI deals relating to small companies under £15m of value, and where management who have been in place for over 3 years are buying out the current owners, to forgo all tax on the deal. We believe that this will encourage MBO activity, making the companies concerned, and as a result the country, more productive. With a new or at least remotivated management team, smaller businesses are more likely to take on more staff, more likely to export and to innovate – and more likely to succeed in the current climate. We hold that the costs to the exchequer would be minimal – and more than compensated for by the additional economic activity generated. We will be putting our views to the Chancellor in the next few days. We hope to be able to update you with his detailed response to our proposal. If you are a business owner or a member of a management team who is currently considering a management buyout, we may be able to find the funding you need to take your plans further. To find out more, call Rangewell for an informal discussion on 020 3318 2613 or email [email protected] Talk to Rangewell – the business finance experts

Financial support for small builders: another Rangewell initiative

TL:DR With building sites staying open, the construction industry has largely proved a bright spot for the UK economy over the past 12 months. But the future is looking much less positive as orders may be starting to dry up. At Rangewell, we believe that the government needs to focus on the construction sector to ensure that it can continue to thrive – and one of the most effective ways to do this is to provide small and local house builders with subsidised funds. With most building sites staying open, with work carrying on in the fresh air and social distancing to protect against Covid, construction has largely proved a bright spot for the UK economy over the past 12 months. Work has been steady – but just because the industry has kept working through the various lockdowns does not mean that everyone has been unaffected by the pandemic. In fact, it looks as though the good times may be coming to an end. Construction output in Great Britain fell in December 2020 for the first time since the first national lockdown last spring. It may be time for the government to step in. What are the facts? This time last March, the construction industry was moving steadily forward, unaware – like the rest of us – that it was about to step off a cliff. Covid and the first lockdown struck, and many sites were initially shuttered – until a better understanding of the Covid risks prevailed. The construction sector in the main went back to work, sometimes in a mask and, overall, aware of the new working practices necessary with social distancing. It came as a shock to all concerned but the good news was that, after that initial period of uncertainty and a record 41% fall in business almost overnight in April 2020, construction output has not only rebounded, but it has been growing every month – until now. Quarterly construction output for Q4 2020 was initially healthy. It had grown by 4.6% compared with the third quarter. This was driven across the board, with bi-quarterly growth in both new work (4.0%) and repair and maintenance (5.5%). It was starting to look as though the industry was going to be out of the Covid downturn. However, the resurgence in Covid seemed to have triggered a new set of setbacks. Businesses were pulling back on their construction needs. Following the record quarterly growth of 71.8% in Q3, new orders decreased by 8.8% (£962m) in Q4 by comparison. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), December 2020’s output was down 2.9% compared to November, falling to £13,516m and its lowest level since last August. The one bright spot was housebuilding. Housebuilders saw new orders for private sector homes jump by 6% compared to the previous quarter. It is more than just a seasonal downturn. The weather has not been so bad that work could not continue, and the holiday season is easily factored into reports. The stark fact is that December saw falls in both new work (3.8%) and in repair and maintenance (1.5%). This is more than just a blip. The December 2020 level of output is 3.5% below the pre-coronavirus February 2020 level, the ONS said. The view from construction purchasing managers The ONS report broadly concurs with the latest survey of construction purchasing managers, which has indicated that the bounce back from the first lockdown has now started to wane. The quarterly index shows Q4 still rising – but the figures for output in December 2020 fell to their lowest level since August 2020. This reflects the sudden closure and equally sudden reopening of sites last spring, and by recovery driven in recent months by the bounce-back in repair and maintenance work. Across 2020 as a whole, output shrank by 12.5% - its worst performance since the collapse of 2009. Of course, these things are relative – the UK economy as a whole shrank by almost 10% in 2020, its largest annual contraction on record. But December’s slowdown means that construction ended 2020 with a monthly output 3.5% smaller than its pre-pandemic level. If you are a construction business owner - whether you are facing a major funding need or want to find a way through the downturn - contact us now. What can be done? Like much of the economy, the construction industry is experiencing exceptional times, and the recovery that it was pinning its hopes on has been proved to be very fragile. With everything but domestic construction looking depressed once again, at Rangewell, we believe that it is time for the government to act. We are experts in all aspects of finance for business, and our team has its finger on the pulse of a wide range of business sectors. They report that the construction sector's good health last year has been replaced with depression as orders dry up and work is becoming harder to find. We have been seeing fewer requests for funding designed to get construction businesses working – Development Loans and Asset Finance – and more requests for funding designed to fend off the Covid crisis, with CBILS and Bounce Back Funding. We believe that the government needs to act to get the construction industry up and running again, and there are many reasons why. It is better to provide real jobs rather than furlough – and the costs of both could ultimately be similar. Stimulating the construction sector with cash injections will provide new jobs now – and by providing new business premises, will pave the way for recovery in the future when it eventually comes. Putting money into construction will actually create revenue in the longer term as more jobs are created and more tax generated. Constructing houses will mean new homes become available – helping to meet the government’s ambitious home building commitments while offering at least some support for those eager for a home of their own. What are we proposing? We want to ask the government to support small and local house builders with subsidised funds. Smaller builders are most at risk in the current climate, but their size can be an important asset in speeding the recovery. Not only are they in greater need than the larger players, but they also tend to employ a lot of local people. They may be more agile as businesses and can work on smaller sites more quickly than the national players. They can, therefore, bring new housing supply on-line quickly, and can also tend to build houses more suitable for local communities. Immediate help with your business funding needs Of course, if you are in the construction sector, we will also provide practical help with your need for funding - whether you need to fund an entire development or fulfil a single contract. We can also provide help with CBILS and Bounce Back applications There is still time to access the government-based funding if you have not done so already. If you are faced with a funding problem, and especially if your bank cannot help provide the funds you need, the answer is always to call us at Rangewell. We are experts in all aspects of business funding and we can use our knowledge to find the most appropriate funding solutions - when going direct to lenders will only mean additional problems. To find out more, call Rangewell for an informal discussion on 020 3318 2613 or email [email protected] Talk to Rangewell – the business finance experts

Case Study: funding an eCommerce business that was growing too fast

TL:DR When a new online business found that they were facing demand that they could not handle, they saw that despite a full order book, they were unable to secure additional funding. They approached us at Rangewell. We looked at the challenges of running an eCommerce business - and found the funding they needed with a line of credit. With stay-at-home orders preventing customers from coming in and lockdown preventing many shops from opening, brick-and-mortar premises have been forced to temporarily close. However, the same factors have given a boost to eCommerce businesses, which use a website as their showroom and point of sale. Instead of a quick run to the store, many consumers are now browsing and placing orders from their computers and smartphones, with both new and experienced online shoppers purchasing greater quantities and varieties of products than ever before. There are plenty of challenges for eCommerce businesses, but with the right combination of products, price and online marketing, they are capable of profitable trading and very rapid growth. At Rangewell, we were recently approached by a new eCommerce business that was enjoying real success - but which needed funding to ensure that success could continue. The challenge Our client was a clothing manufacturer based in the Midlands. They specialised in licensed designs - clothing of all types from t-shirts and polos to sweaters and complete outfits, with characters and images from the world of music, games and movies. “We started off selling band shirts at gigs. Naturally, we had a website, so fans who missed us at the live event could still get the merchandise. When it became impossible to stage live events, we started making the most of our site.  We really started in April, when we might take £10,000 a day. Now we are closer to £35,000 per day. We are selling officially Licensed Merchandise ranges with Disney characters and these days that means Star Wars and Marvel characters as well as the mouse and Duck Tales - and there is always demand. So much that we can hardly keep up with it. Making the most of our site meant that we could sell any of our ranges to customers anywhere in the world. We found business was actually getting better as lockdown wore on.” The business had a small UK-based warehousing, packaging and fulfilment centre, but most manufacturing was done in the far east where costs are lower. “These days, distance manufacturing is no problem. I can pick up the phone or get on a zoom conference and talk to our manufacturers at any time. So if we have a sudden rush on something like a Hogwarts Christmas jumper, we can get the stock flown over in a few days.” The only problem with the business was keeping up with the demand from web customers. The order volumes required were getting larger, and with Christmas coming, the partners saw that they needed to bring in considerable quantities of their best-selling lines to cope with the growth of the business. But this would require paying money upfront to the manufacturers and, despite the success of the site, it was money that the business did not have. Funding of £500,000 to £1million would be required to bring in enough stock to see them through. The partners were unable to raise the necessary funds when they turned to their bank. “The bank didn’t understand our business and, because we had been trading in our present form for under a year, they were not prepared to advance us anything - despite the success of our business. We had no advance orders to use as security, and they had no experience of the potential of online businesses.” The partners turned to us at Rangewell for the solutions they needed.  Funding for eCommerce businesses As experts in funding for eCommerce businesses, we understand the challenges. With traditional retailers, lenders have years of experience to base their lending decisions on, and bricks and mortar retailers can have physical assets - such as their premises - to offer as security. eCommerce is rather different.  Many lenders will not look at applications in the sector because it is outside their experience.  Consequently, eCommerce businesses tend to suffer from cash flow shortages and find their growth plans frustrated because they cannot find the finance they need. Fortunately at Rangewell, we have a team of eCommerce experts who understand the challenges you face when it comes to funding - and know the solutions that are available. The most popular of these is a line of credit. A business line of credit is a flexible funding product that enables businesses to draw on funds as and when needed. It’s typically used for immediate expenses rather than long-term investments, and acts very much like an old-style overdraft. A line of credit provides a pre-approved reserve of credit that you can call on as you need to at short notice. It’s a good option for eCommerce businesses that need short-term cash to cover expenses, for example, online advertising costs and new stock. When orders and cash then come into the business you can pay off what you have borrowed - which means that the cash you have taken out and repaid is ready to be taken out and used again. You pay interest only on the amount used, which means you avoid fixed costs and commitments which are unavoidable with a traditional term loan. But this type of funding has another important advantage. It helps keep pace with the growth of your business, because the more business you do, the more cash you generate and the quicker you can repay the amounts you take out. As your business grows, you can apply to extend the line of credit you can call on - ensuring that your further development is supported and that you can bring in stock to meet the demand your online presence generates. The funding Rangewell secured We arranged a line of credit, initially capped at £1million, for the client. It provided the flexibility they needed to stock up for the December demand, and because the amount drawn out could be repaid as soon as customer payments were received, the costs were moderate, compared with the increased revenue that could be generated. Rangewell finds the financial solutions that your business needs Whatever business sector you work in, our Business Funding Experts will be able to discuss your individual options and work out the most cost-effective ways to provide the funding you want - whatever the challenge your business conditions are presenting you with. We are independent, and we know the entire lending market. That means we can take a view that will put your interests first - and if you have not been successful because of your bank’s lending policies, we will work to find one that is more sympathetic. At Rangewell, we can help you arrange all types of business funding - including line of credit arrangements. Call us if your eCommerce business faces a funding challenge - we can help you find the answers you need. 

Funding for a hotel industry in crisis

TL:DR The hotel industry is in crisis. Covid and lockdown mean that travellers are not travelling and guest numbers have fallen to almost nothing, meaning that cash conservation remains a top priority. At Rangewell, we recently helped a hotelier refinance his current £1.4m loan onto the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and extract a further £400,00 for renovations and property improvements. Under the CBIL Scheme this means the hotelier paid no fees and no interest payments for the first 12 months - ensuring cashflow was conserved for other purposes. The world-wide disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has created a very real crisis for the hotel industry.  Although there was a glimmer of hope as the first lockdown was gradually eased in the second half of last year, the return of the disease with increased infection rates has meant that there are simply no guests to welcome. A very small number of business travellers may still need rooms, but with no tourists - and no end to the crisis in sight - the future for the hotel industry is looking challenging. According to the latest government regulations to combat the spread of Covid, almost all hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites must stay closed at least until the current lockdown emergency is over. Of course, there is hope for the future. The vaccines now being administered could spell the end of the coronavirus - but their effect will not be felt for months - and it is already looking as though 2021 will see little in the way of tourist business, even if the recovery has begun.  It is clear that the hotel industry is now in crisis and that it will be some time before it returns to business as usual - and during that time, the financial challenges will be growing. What are the challenges? Hotel owners and their financial backers have had to look hard at the impact on the industry, their businesses and their funding arrangements. At Rangewell, as experts in business funding and with a specialist teaming working to find financial solutions for the hospitality industry, we look at exactly what the challenge may be - and what solution can be available. “The simple fact is that we have no guests coming in - and that means we have no income coming in either. Usually, January and February tend to be slow, but we should be looking back on a lucrative Christmas period, with everything from works parties and family get-togethers to people just wanting to get away for a break. This year, we had none of that to look back on, and bookings for the next month are non-existent.” Hotel owners need to come up with new strategies including reaching out to lenders, extending the term of any existing loans and requesting interest payment holidays to ease cashflow concerns. At Rangewell we know that many hotel owners have done what they can to weather the Covid storm. Putting staff on furlough is one way of cutting costs - but dealing with existing finance commitments is a major cost, and together with utility bills and vital maintenance mean that there is still a steady drain on any reserves that they may have. What can you do? Have an extended cash flow forecast for the next six months. Include downside scenarios to understand critical cash points and any breaches of lending covenants. Manage your payments to suppliers. Minimise all discretionary operational and capital expenditure. Postpone maintenance and other capital expenditure where possible. Put in place an advanced revenue management system and pricing models to respond to market developments quickly. Assess the equity or debt funding sources available.  Be transparent towards existing lenders and involve them in the mitigating procedures and continuity plans. Apply for the tax refunds and other financial relief measures. Looking for solutions to help your hotel through the crisis? Contact our team today for ways to help your business survive. The biggest problem may be providing working capital. Even where hotels are closed, there will still be substantial costs to cover ensure that security and health and safety standards are maintained. For hotel owners, one of the key questions will be how to fund the key working capital requirements of the business at a time when income has completely dried up.  The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) may be able to provide some support. It is a government-sponsored scheme which can deliver loans of up to £5million from high street banks which will be interest-free for the first year, and have recently been extended to repayment terms of up to 10 years with nothing to repay for the first 12 months. The UK Government will provide the lenders with a guarantee of 80% of the amount of each CBIL loan. For businesses with a higher turnover the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme can allow borrowing of up to £25m. The government is committed to supporting businesses through the lockdown, and these loans should be a powerful tool to help businesses survive. However, these are commercial loans and lenders are required to carry out full underwriting process on loan applications and ensure that hotel owners satisfy the requirements of the scheme.  In practice, many hotel owners have found the CBILS scheme difficult to access.  Initially, at least, those lenders who offer the scheme were inundated with requests for funding and had to process those applications with their entire team working remotely, whilst also having to deal with requests for covenant waivers and hotel closures on their existing loan portfolio.  However, although the government is underwriting CBILS, many lenders will not advance funds under the scheme to the hospitality sector.  Why will lenders not lend? “Our bank manager wanted to be helpful, but when we saw him, he looked at our figures, and said that his hands were tied, and he was sorry, but he could not help us.” The problem seems to be that the lenders have become reluctant to lend to many sectors because of the uncertainties of Covid. They base their lending decisions on risks, and with no sure end in sight for the crisis, they see that some sectors have a future that is at best unpredictable - and which could be financially unsustainable. Some lenders believe that the hospitality industry - and particularly hotels of all sizes - are particularly vulnerable. Some, we have found, have placed blanket bans on lending to the sector, and even with government support via CBILS and the smaller and more agile Bounce Back Loan scheme, they cannot offer the financial support that is so desperately needed. In fact, there is acceptance in the hotel lending community that hotel owners will breach the financial covenants in loan agreements. Some lenders have already adopted a flexible approach and waived financial covenants and provided repayment holidays for an initial period until hotels re-establish trade. But new lending may be particularly difficult to secure.  Despite the doom and gloom from some lenders, business sector analysts, Knight Frank, have estimated that the UK hotel will rebound strongly once the economy recovers. It anticipates a V-shaped, stepped recovery with occupancy growth stronger during the initial phase of recovery and rebound in revenue per available room to fully recover once travel restrictions are eased and long-haul inbound visitors return. It means a growing financial crisis for the hotel industry. Why Rangewell? At Rangewell, we are working to find solutions for hotels that have run into problems because of the lockdown. We have a specialist team with expert knowledge of the sector, and we know lenders that may still be prepared to advance funds. Unlike most business funding services, we can search the entire lending market to find funding for our clients.  Our service is personal. We assign a finance expert to work with everyone who approaches us, who can discuss needs, and often, suggest unexpected ways to offer funding solutions. Then, we can use some sophisticated software to identify the most appropriate sources of funding for each case. Our Rapid Algorithmic Matching Platform (RAMP) technology can quickly identify a list of lenders which might be willing to provide finance to the borrower, based on our understanding of the scale of the needs and the amounts required. The size of the loan required, the sector and the credit status of each client all influence which lenders who are most likely to be receptive to an application. By automating the process, we can search the entire lending market in seconds. Our fintech platform system can also generate a digital fact-find, which means we can sense-check proposals quickly and efficiently.   Once we have our shortlist of appropriate lenders, we can approach our contacts within those banks and other financial providers. Armed with data and documentation updated in real-time, we can support lenders throughout the underwriting and due diligence process. Because of this, we can accelerate the process of completing and drawing down the loan. It not only means that we can find lenders prepared to advance funds when others cannot, but it also ensures we can streamline the application process - allowing the funds to be available for drawdown in the shortest possible time.  Rangewell’s APIs into Companies House and the Credit Agencies, as well as its automated fact-find technology, provides clear insight into each client and their requirements.  We are independent and we know the entire lending market. That means we can take a view that will put your interests first - and if you have not been successful because of your bank’s lending policies, we will work to find one that is more sympathetic. Ready to find the answers to your funding needs? To find out more call the Rangewell Covid crisis funding helpline on 020 3318 2613 or email [email protected] Talk to Rangewell – the business finance experts

BREXIT: what it means for SMEs

The United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union on 23rd June 2016 and left on 1st February 2020. Between February and December 2020 the UK was in a transition period under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. This transition period ends on 1st January 2021 and the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union will be conducted under the terms of a new deal -The Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This is your overview of what is in this Brexit deal. Rangewell are business finance experts who work with UK SMEs and their advisors to help them find, compare and apply for business finance. We have comprehensively and independently mapped over 300 business finance lenders and 23,000 business finance products in the UK. And just like with business finance, we hope to bring all of the information in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement into one helpful overview with insight into how the two sides compromised to reach this agreement.  TRADE IN GOODS Summary Zero-for-zero tariff argument. This means if you buy or sell goods to the EU, there won’t be a new, additional charge added in January. A number of situations in the agreement to turn off zero tariffs and a few clues which will see them progressively introduced.  New ‘Rules of Origin’ for exporters on the components and/or materials in products - could be an extra charge if a component is made outside the UK or EU. The UK and EU will become two separate regulatory and legal areas. This means that all there will be different regulations and rules on products. Be prepared for paperwork when exporting to the EU which may ask for details of the origins on all of the components used in a product. All goods imported into the EU from the UK will be subject to regulatory checks.  Prepare for slight delays on goods being shipped when the system is first introduced. If you already export to the EU, you may be eligible for “trusted trader” status.  If a bottleneck emerges in trade (delays at Dover for instance), then the UK and the EU are able to quickly amend rules for customs processes. Product standards and technical regulations based on the same international references. This includes the continued use of self-certification of conformity by the manufacturer where it is currently applied in both the EU and the UK. In 2019, the EU was responsible for 52% of total imports into the UK, and exports from the UK to the EU tallied at 43%. With that being said, services accounted for 42% of the UK’s total exports to the EU. We will detail the overview of services further down the article.  Wales, followed by Northern Ireland and the North East of England had the highest percentage of goods being exported to the EU. Northern Ireland, followed by the East of England, had the highest proportion of goods imported from the EU. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement sets out that the UK and the EU will be in a free trade agreement with a zero-for-zero tariff argument. This means if you buy or sell goods into the EU, there won’t be a new, additional charge added in January. The EU stated that this is the most ambitious commitment towards liberalising market access for goods ever to feature in an EU free trade agreement.  So this means there will be zero-tariffs and zero-quotas on all goods from day one. If the UK did not have this agreement and left on World Trade Organization terms (No Deal), products like Welsh lamb would have been subject to a 50% tariff, Somerset beef an 87% tariff, Sunderland cars 10% tariffs and Leicester’s textiles would have been subject to tariffs of up to 12%.   However, be warned, this agreement is not a straightforward wholesale end of tariffs. It is important to know there are a number of situations in the agreement to turn off zero tariffs and a few clues which will see them progressively introduced.  To help to understand why and how new charges might emerge, it is useful to understand the positions taken during the negotiations and how they came to the remedies in the reached compromises.  On one side of negotiations, you had the UK who wanted to use this agreement to maximise the benefits of being outside of the EU. While on the other side of the table you had the EU, who did not want to grant the UK any special access to their market as that would mean putting members of the EU at a disadvantage. For example, being outside of the UK means the UK is free to strike a free trade agreement with an East Asian nation like South Korea; who produces electric car batteries cheaper than they do in the EU. The UK could then build an electric car with these Korean batteries in the UK. The UK would then hope to sell the cars inside of the EU in places like Poland or Cyprus. The EU is concerned with the UK doing this, as it would undercut and put EU car manufacturers at a disadvantage due to the fact the UK would be able to build cars cheaper.  To remedy this in the agreement, the EU pushed for tariffs on cars. The compromise resulted in a zero tariff on cars made in the UK from January 2021 but tariffs will be phased in over six years on those cars which are built with parts from outside of the EU.  This agreement is full of caveats like this. The story of the negotiations is one of the UK trying to take advantage of their global position and the EU ensuring this does not undercut goods made in the EU zone. The outcome is zero tariffs for British goods but protection for the EU if the UK gets too much of an advantage over what can be done from within the EU itself. If you sell goods to the EU, you will have to understand this ‘Rules of Origin’ of all the components or materials in your products, as there could be an extra charge if a component is made outside the UK or EU. Importantly, this doesn’t just mean the origin of materials used but also which country the processing of the components took place.  Be prepared for paperwork when exporting to the EU which may ask for details of the origins on all of the components used in a product. The other area in which the UK sought to take advantage and the EU wanted to mitigate this is on the goods which the UK might import from those nations the EU does not have a free trade arrangement with, like Australia or South Africa.  The EU are worried that the UK would become a back door for these goods to come into the EU. This could mean cheaper goods or goods which undermine a protected industry, or goods which don’t meet EU standards.  This means that, from January, all goods imported into the EU from the UK will be subject to regulatory checks. This is to ensure that goods - like Australia or South Africa wine for example - do not sneak into the EU without the necessary tariffs which currently protect French wine producers. So even with zero-tariffs and customs and regulatory cooperation, all products traded between the UK and the EU will be subject to regulatory compliance checks from the 1st of January. Remember, the UK and EU will become two separate regulatory and legal areas. This means that all there will be different regulations and rules on products. What could this mean to UK businesses? Simply put, this could mean slight delays on goods as the system is first introduced. This does not concern trade in goods between the EU and Northern Ireland, as goods entering Northern Ireland from the rest of the UK will need to comply with EU product rules and will be subject to customs checks. If you already export to the EU, you may be eligible for “trusted trader” status. In the treaty, they have agreed to recognise each other's ‘Authorised Economic Operators' programmes, enabling trusted traders that benefit from this status to enjoy certain simplifications with customs authorities.  If you are worried about an increase of paperwork and delays in the delivery of goods, you might be pleased to learn that a number of mechanisms were negotiated to reduce administrative burdens for businesses. The deal does not have any specific agreement but if a bottleneck emerges and we see delays at Dover for instance, then the UK and the EU are able to quickly amend rules on ships carrying lorries or how the UK/EU exchange customs information. Both sides have agreed a definition of international standards that identifies the relevant international standard-setting bodies. This included the continued use of self-certification of conformity by the manufacturer where it is currently applied in both the EU and the UK. This will ensure that product standards and technical regulations are based on the same international references and will make compliance rules easier and less costly. DIGITAL TRADE  Summary Agreement to stop any unjustified barriers to trade. Commitment to continue an open, secure and trustworthy online environment for businesses. Maintain high standards of personal data protection. No requirement for UK data to be stored or processed within the EU. UK/EU will continue to cooperate alongside other nations at multiple levels to ensure the highest possible protection. The Agreement aims to facilitate digital trade. It wants to stop unjustified barriers and to maintain an open, secure and trustworthy online environment for businesses and consumers alike.  The forefront of the agreement is to maintain high standards of personal data protection and, notably, prohibits requirement for UK data to be stored or processed within the EU. Faced with increasing cybersecurity challenges, the UK and the EU will continue to cooperate alongside other nations at multiple levels to ensure the highest possible protection. TRADE IN SERVICES Summary  There is a deal for services in the agreement including for financial services. The agreement provides a significant level of cooperation on the trade in services, going far beyond the baseline of the WTO's rules. As of 1st January, UK service suppliers will lose their automatic right to offer services across the EU.  Service businesses that operate in the EU may need to establish an entity in the EU to continue to operate.  Firms will no longer be able to operate the ‘passporting' concept.  In the deal, a non-discrimination clause was agreed in order to ensure that service suppliers or investors from the UK will be treated no less favourably than EU firms within the EU.  There is a review clause encouraging the EU and UK to consider whether there are possibilities to improve trade of non-financial  services in the future. The actual level of market access for UK firms will depend on the way the service is supplied and whether it is supplied on a cross-border basis.  United Kingdom professionals will need to have their qualifications recognised by the relevant Member State to supply those services in the relevant Nations.  The agreement foresees a mechanism whereby the UK and the EU may later agree on specific professions to have mutual recognition of certain professional qualifications. Negotiations continue for financial services, with the aim to be finalised by March 2021. They will mainly cover the question over equivalence on financial services. Until the new agreement, the UK's equivalence decisions will be adopted in the UK's interest and the EU will consider equivalence when they are in the EU's interest. Services accounted for 42% of the UK’s exports to the EU. This includes financial services and professional services such as legal, accounting, advertising and engineering. The UK had an overall trade deficit of -£79 billion with the EU but a surplus of £18 billion on trade in services. It is important to note that there is a deal for services in the agreement, which is in contrast to the fake news being shared by some. The agreement provides a significant level of cooperation on the trade in services, going far beyond the baseline of the WTO's rules. All UK service providers to the EU must be aware that as of 1st January, UK service suppliers will lose their automatic right to offer services across the EU. Service businesses that operate in the EU may need to establish an entity in the EU to continue to operate.  Firms will no longer be able to operate the ‘passporting' concept, which is that if you are authorised to practice in one member state it enables you to operate throughout the EU. That said, in the deal, a non-discrimination clause was agreed in order to ensure that service suppliers or investors from the UK will be treated no less favourably than EU firms within the EU.  This entitles UK practices to receive more favourable treatment than is granted to service suppliers or investors from outside the EU who do not have similar provisions in place. There is a review clause encouraging the EU and UK to consider whether there are possibilities to improve trade in services in the future (financial services are excluded in this clause). The actual level of market access for UK firms will depend on the way the service is supplied and whether it is supplied on a cross-border basis. For example, if the service is purchased over the internet or by a tourist travelling abroad and purchasing services. United Kingdom professionals including doctors, nurses, dental practitioners, pharmacists, veterinary surgeons, lawyers, architects and engineers will need to have their qualifications recognised by the relevant Member State to supply that services in the relevant Nations. This will happen, and in many cases has already happened, between the UK regulators and their European counterparts.  The agreement foresees a mechanism whereby the UK and the EU may later agree on specific professions to have mutual recognition of certain professional qualifications. UK lawyers will be allowed to provide legal services relating specifically to the practice of international law and the law of the country where they are authorised under their “home” title in the EU.  The Trade and Cooperation Agreement does cover financial services but it is important to note that negotiations continue and that most areas for financial services are covered by WTO rules. The Agreement commits both the UK and the EU to maintain their markets open for each other seeking to supply services. It was also agreed to commit to current standards in the financial services sector and they are applied throughout the UK and EU.  The Agreement does not include any elements pertaining to equivalence frameworks for financial services, that is the recognition of each other’s legal requirements for regulating financial services. It is important to note that negotiations for financial services are ongoing. The UK and EU have stated that they aim to have an agreement on the framework for regulatory cooperation on financial services by March 2021. The negotiations will mainly cover the question over equivalence on financial services. This is in regards to how the UK will diverge from EU frameworks and how it will use its supervisory discretion regarding EU firms. Until then, the UK's equivalence decisions will be adopted in the UK's interest and similarly, the EU will consider equivalence when they are in the EU's interest. This is mainly as the UK hopes to secure provisions that would add more stability to the equivalence system. The UK wanted to at least replicate provisions in the EU’s deal with Japan, which foresee consultations and advance warning before equivalence is withdrawn but the EU rejected this out of concern that the UK would make it as hard as possible for the EU to revoke equivalence. PUBLIC SECTOR CONTRACTS  Summary UK & EU companies will be able to participate on an equal footing in bids for procurement tenders covered by the agreement.  The Agreement further provides for non-discrimination of UK/EU companies for small-value procurement.  The agreement contains what the EU describes as some of the most ambitious provisions on public procurement ever entered into by the EU and goes well beyond commitments under the WTO agreement.  UK & EU companies will be able to participate on an equal footing in bids for procurement tenders covered by the agreement. The Agreement further provides for non-discrimination of UK/EU companies for small-value procurement.  INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS  Summary The agreement enhanced standards in copyright.  Collective management of rights and rights such as the resale right for visual works, which are not covered by international conventions, are covered. Trade marks, design rights, patents, the protection of trade secrets, plant variety rights and the enforcement of intellectual property rights have enhanced standards. All EU geographical indications already registered in the EU by the end of December 2020 will be protected in the United Kingdom.  Future geographical indications the EU may want to protect will have to be agreed with the UK at the time and won’t be automatically applied. The Trade and Cooperation Agreement complements the existing international legal framework on intellectual property rights. In particular, it enhanced standards in copyright.  Notably the collective management of rights, and rights such as the resale right for visual works, which are not covered by international conventions and which are particularly important for international artists. Trade marks, design rights, patents (supplementary protection certificates), the protection of trade secrets, plant variety rights and the enforcement of intellectual property rights (including border enforcement) have enhanced standards. All EU geographical indications already registered in the EU by the end of December 2020, such as Champagne, will be protected in the United Kingdom. Future geographical indications the EU may want to protect will have to be agreed with the UK at the time and won’t be automatically applied. NEW RULES FOR EU WORKERS AND TRAVELLING TO THE EU FOR WORK Summary EU/UK nationals will still have short-term visa-free access of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. For longer stays in the EU, you have to follow individual nations’ immigration rules.  The UK created the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. The deadline for applying is 30th June 2021. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. Intra-corporate transferees who need to work in the EU can continue to do so but the maximum duration of such transfers is now capped at three years. In short, there is nothing new in terms of ‘freedom of movement’. It’s actually not covered in the treaty. It was already agreed though that from 1st January 2021, EU/UK nationals will still have short-term visa-free access of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. If you want to stay in the EU for longer than 90 days, then you have to follow individual nations’ immigration rules.  One of the first things to happen after the vote to leave the EU in 2016 by then-Prime Minister, Theresa May, was to say that EU nationals in the UK are welcome. This was repeated by Boris Johnson when he became Prime Minister in 2019. As a result, the UK created the EU Settlement Scheme. EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their families can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020. Theresa May pushed hard for the EU to make a declaration in line with the UK’s Settled Status Scheme. Unfortunately, the EU has not reciprocated. This means that, for UK nationals living in the EU, they will have to apply through their respective countries for residence. If you are going to temporarily live in the EU for business purposes, the UK and the EU have agreed on a broad range of reciprocal commitments. For example, intra-corporate transferees who need to work in the EU can continue to do so but the maximum duration of such transfers is now capped at three years before the transferee has to apply for a more permanent visa.  THE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD, STATE AID AND SUBSIDIES  Summary Rules on State Aid so British firms do not have an advantage over those in the EU. The EU offered zero tariffs in exchange that the UK did not offer overly-generous subsidies.  The level playing field is an EU concept which means, for example, a Belgian steel plant is not at a disadvantage to one in the Netherlands. That is to say, the Dutch government can not grant subsidies to a Dutch steel plant as that would give them an advantage over the Belgian plant. During the negotiations, the EU was very keen that British firms were not given an advantage of UK State Aid which could see industry leave the EU for the UK. The EU offered zero tariffs in exchange that the UK did not offer overly-generous subsidies.  -- Nic Conner is Rangewell’s Research Consultant. Nic worked for Vote Leave during the referendum. Of the six-person UK negotiation team, Nic has known and worked closely with four of them over the past decade. Prior and after the referendum, Nic has worked in business finance alongside SMEs and their advisors. 

Rangewell’s analysis of economic data during the Coronavirus pandemic to assess the future of business lending in the United Kingdom

Summary It is clear from the Office of National Statistics reports that we are seeing a mountain range of economic recovery. When the UK has tight restrictions, business performance dips into canyons of low to no trade. As soon as restrictions are eased, we see a sharp upturn with peaks closer to February levels of business activity. All industries saw a dramatic drop in GDP at the start of the pandemic. Some sectors struggled to return to their February levels, while others saw their output bounce back to their pre-March levels by June.  As restrictions came into force throughout the UK at the start of November, the percentage of businesses experiencing a decrease in turnover increased sharply. 50% of businesses experienced a lower turnover to what is normally expected for the beginning of December.  By the beginning of December, businesses, on the whole, had a greater belief that they would survive the next three months. This is supported by the fact that the majority of businesses have over six months’ cash reserves. 43% of businesses have high confidence that their business will survive, whilst 36% say they have moderate confidence and 9% say they have low confidence. Only 3% say they have no confidence whatsoever that their business will survive into the first three months of 2021. 5% of businesses have no cash reserves, 4% have less than one month, 22% have between one to three months, 16% have between four and six months and 36% have more than 6 months’ cash reserves. The Government’s fully-guaranteed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes have been hugely successful.  31% of all businesses have said they received a government-backed loan during the pandemic.  Exuding the Future Fund, by the beginning of December, £68.1bn worth of CBILS were lent to 1.5m British firms. Overview of business performance All industries saw a dramatic drop in GDP at the start of the pandemic. Some sectors struggled to return to their February levels, while others saw their output bounce back to their pre-March levels by June.  The GDP data clearly shows the peak and canyons of economic performance, with sharp recovery when restrictions are eased and dips when businesses are legally obliged to close. Monthly output as a proportion of February 2020 output; February 2020 output = 100%. Number of people with at least one positive COVID-19 test result (either lab-reported or lateral flow device), by specimen date. Source: Office for National Statistics, GDP monthly estimate: PHE Weekly Cases data, people tested positive, UK Whole. The ONS turnover data is significant as it is published fortnightly. The turnover estimates seem to be following the same trends as the ONS’ UK monthly GDP estimates. This is despite the fact that fortnightly turnover figures are published much earlier than the official monthly GDP estimates. Using the ONS turnover data we can look ahead of the GDP estimates to conclude that when restrictions came into force throughout by the start of November, the percentage of businesses experiencing a decrease in turnover increased sharply.  50% of businesses experienced a lower turnover to what is normally expected for the beginning of December. The percentage of businesses currently trading has fallen to the levels seen in the period of July to August, at 82%. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  Business confidence and cash reserves going into 2021 43% of businesses have high confidence that their business will survive, whilst 36% say they have moderate confidence and 9% say they have low confidence. Only 3% say they have no confidence whatsoever that their business will survive into the first three months of 2021. Real Estate has the greatest confidence, with 68% of firms in the sector reporting they are highly confident their respective businesses will survive the first quarter of 2021. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  The ONS say that 5% of businesses have no cash reserves, while 4% have less than one month, 22% have between one to three months, 16% have between four and six months and 36% have more than 6 months’ cash reserves. Manufacturing has the highest level of cash reserves, with 42% reporting reserves will last over 6 months, while hospitality reports that 8% of firms have no cash reserves whatsoever. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  Overview of the government’s fully-guaranteed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Schemes  31% of all businesses told the ONS they have received a government-backed loan during the pandemic.  Hospitality report being the largest recipients of CBILS, whilst the arts report to being the least. This could be for the fact that The Arts and entertainment is one of the sectors to benefit from Grant Funding. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  Excluding the Future Fund, by the beginning of December, £68.1bn worth of CBILS loans had been lent to 1.5m British firms. The most successful program has been the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, accounting for 93% of all Government-backed lending. Of those who received a Bounce Back Loan, 4% have successfully gained a top-up. Source: British Busines Bank, Covid-19 Loan Schemes

Case study: Funding to buy a second accountancy firm

TL:DR Getting many types of business funding is proving more difficult in the wake of Covid. When that funding is required to provide the cash for an ambitious business purchase, the challenges are made much more severe - especially if the business looking for funding was experiencing a downturn even before the crisis hit. At Rangewell, we recently arranged funding to allow an accountant to buy another business - and overcame the challenges caused by high gearing to secure funding at a competitive rate.   There are three factors that make this type of funding more particularly challenging: Lenders are concerned about the ongoing impact of Covid on the economy and may have tightened their lending rules Lenders are always reluctant to provide funding when they believe the applicant is operating a business with problems Government help for businesses during the Covid crisis can be generous - but CBILS and Bounce Back Loans are explicitly ruled out for businesses with existing trading difficulties At Rangewell, we were recently approached by a client running an accountancy practice which had their business recovery plans severely disrupted by an inability to secure the funding they needed. Buying an accountancy practice Acquisition of a competitor is one of the main routes for developing an accountancy practice. Although there can be no guarantee of any kind that the clients of the business being purchase will stay with the new practice, it can allow for rapid growth in the scale of the practice doing the purchase. The purchase of the goodwill alone, rather than premises or other assets, is the norm in this sector. The business was successful but had reduced the turnover in recent years because of the declining health of the previous owner. The new owner had taken over the practice, understanding that it had declined, but was starting to put it back onto a growth course. “The practice had lost some key clients, but we were still profitable and I was confident that I would be able to turn the business around. But I needed some new business quickly. The simplest way to do that would be to buy the goodwill of an existing firm - and I found one that would be ideal.” The retiring accountant had agreed that a sum of £150,000 would be appropriate for the goodwill built up in his practice. A professional accountant with a practice of their own should be able to arrange a loan of this scale to take over a business without difficulty. Banks and other lenders will see the profession as a good business risk and be happy to offer funding on attractive terms.  However, the practice was already close to its credit limit with its bank and, with the problems the broader economy had been experiencing, the bank would not provide any further funding. “I wanted to put the business back on a professional footing. It was frustrating that the bank could not help.” The accountant had called on us at Rangewell to provide funding for clients - so it seemed logical to call on our expertise to find a solution to his own needs. We looked at the problems and saw that the influx of new business would be valuable but the combination of Covid, the downturn in the existing business and the fact that it had reached the credit limit with their existing bank was causing problems. “I had taken on a business in a downturn - but I could not raise the cash I needed to start it heading back up.” Are you struggling to find funding solutions for your business? For personalised support and innovative solutions, contact the Rangewell Funding Team today The funding solution Rangewell arranged As the owners of an accountancy practice that was established and had been able to show a record of profits in the past, it would usually be simple to arrange funding. Banks and other lenders will usually see accountants as ‘safe’ choices for funding. However, the fact that the practice was already highly geared meant that it was impossible to secure additional funding for our client. He had used all available credit to buy the business and to keep it afloat.  We knew that in these circumstances it would be possible to arrange funding for a specialist in distressed lending - which could provide funds at a high rate of interest. We discussed this with the client and agreed that this would be possible - but that the high cost of this type of credit would put the business itself at risk. The client had become a high-risk proposition for lenders because of the amount of credit that was already being used. The problem was that their available credit was all in use, and that was obvious to new lenders, who saw the business as being in distress. However, we saw that the solution would be to provide additional credit for the short term, which would improve the trading position of the business - and so make it suitable for the large-scale loan required for the business purchase. We arranged two funding streams - one for £20,000 as a Revolving Credit arrangement, and an additional £30,000 facility using business credit cards. This provided an additional £50,000 worth of credit that the accountant could call on as required. But it would have another even more important effect. With additional credit to call on, the practice was no longer trading at a disadvantage. It would mean that much lower rates for the business purchase loan could be negotiated. Together the two credit lines would be more than enough to give the incoming owner a cash reserve to deal with any problems with cashflow while he continued his work of revitalising the business - and provide evidence of sufficient credit to enable a lender to provide the funds required for the practice purchase. How can we help you? If you are faced with a funding problem, and especially if your bank cannot help provide the funds you need, the answer is to call us at Rangewell. We are experts in all aspect of business funding and we can use our knowledge to find funding solutions - when going direct to lenders will only mean problems. To find out more, call Rangewell for an informal discussion on 020 3318 2613 or email [email protected]

CBILS Case study: Funding for a Furniture Manufacturer

TL:DR When a furniture manufacturer found that he had run into cash flow problems, he discovered that they were made worse because of his existing lending commitments. Despite his exposure to his existing debt, we found a way to provide £250,000 with CBILS funding.  Urgent update: The government has announced an extension to the deadline for CBILS applications, which will now remain open until the end of January 2021. Don’t miss out on the government-backed funding you must have - call us now. Covid has meant challenges to every business sector. Even those sectors such as manufacturing - where it is impossible to work remotely but entirely possible to work safely by careful process planning - have suffered because, in many cases, their customer base is no longer buying. “Obviously, you can't have people working from home when they need to work on a production line. After a few issues, we found ways for our workforce to socially distance and use PPE, so we should be able to run the production floor as normal. We have a modern factory and setting up perspex barriers around workstations and the like was not too much a problem. We even had the supply problems cracked. We had a few missed deliveries from board suppliers to start with, but that all got sorted out. For a while, it looked like we could carry on with business as usual - but then the orders started getting cancelled.” The business, based on an industrial estate on the outskirts of London, built furniture - mainly for domestic and commercial users, providing a range of tables, chairs, desks and cabinets. With a range of advanced machines, including CAD equipment, they were able to provide both a standard range and custom orders as required, and business was brisk. They had enjoyed a turnover of £1million last year and were looking forward to an even busier year in 2020. “You can make furniture with the old fashioned crafts approach - but you can’t make money doing it. We had invested in the production floor and we have some advanced machines. It gives us a competitive edge when it comes to volume, and to versatility too - if we need a custom design for a large order, we can just get the computer to take care of the design and spec. Our designs are variations on a theme, and our people know how to put it  all together.” It seemed to be a winning formula for a profitable business - until the lockdown. Orders were being cancelled as the shops stocking their ranges shut their doors, and refurbishing projects of all sizes were put on hold for the duration of the emergency.  A growing flood of orders slowed to a trickle, and both machines and workforce were standing idle. “Of course, we did what we could to cut costs. We furloughed as many of our team as we could and took advantage of the rates and VAT holidays. But I sat down with the accountant and we saw that it was not going to be enough.” The problem was the machines which had given the business its competitive edge. They had been a major investment, and they paid for themselves when they were working - but now that they were standing idle, the repayments on the funding required to buy them was more than the business could afford. Together with the cost of the factory premises, which were leased, the business was left with a substantial shortfall in cash. The business did what it could to reduce outgoings but there were substantial overheads to pay, with premises to pay for and a wide variety of equipment which needed finance agreements serviced. Simply making payments on the existing debt was fast becoming a problem when the volume of business started to decline with Covid. The business saw that the government's Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - or CBILS - could be a cost-effective solution to help provide the funds it needed to stay afloat. About CBILS CBILS is a government-backed scheme which was set up to provide financial support to smaller businesses across the UK that were, and still are, losing revenue and seeing their cashflow disrupted as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The scheme can provide loans of up to £5million, crucially, with nothing to repay for the first 12 months. It can be the ideal solution for businesses of all kinds that find that their orders have been put on hold because of the lockdown. However, there was a problem. CBILS is provided by commercial lenders, and although the government scheme will reduce the risk of lending, it cannot altogether remove it.  Lenders will, therefore, lend under their own lending criteria. When the business owner approached his existing lender for help, he found they would not provide additional funds - even under CBILS. What was the problem? Their existing lenders were a Peer-to-peer provider. Peer-to-peer, or P2P lending, is an innovative practice that can change the playing field when it comes to raising money. P2P allows individuals or businesses to lend money to other individuals and businesses through an online service. P2P websites work like marketplaces, bringing together people or businesses that want to lend money with those that want a loan. By providing an alternative to banks, it offers scope for funding outside the cast-iron rules banks are forced to set. Although costs for borrowing can be higher than those provided by mainstream banks, a P2P lender may be able to offer a loan when the more established banks are unable to.  With many banks reluctant to provide funding for start-up and newer businesses, an increasing number of business owners turn to P2P lenders for the funding they need. Costs may be a little higher than a tier one, or high-street bank, but the ability to access funding essential to turn a business idea into a business makes it more than worthwhile to pay a premium - at least until the business is fully established. In the case of the manufacturer, the large investment in production equipment had been mainly funded by Asset Finance provided by a major P2P lender. “They had been generous when we had set up the business - I hoped they would be again.” He had reasons to be optimistic. Some of the larger P2P providers have arranged to offer funding under CBILs, using the government’s guarantee to underwrite their decisions, although they will continue to work according to their established business model.  However, the owner was disappointed by the reaction of the lender.  “They looked at our figures and explained that they could not provide us with any more cash. We had already reached their lending limits under the new conditions forced on them by Covid.” The lender wanted to be helpful, but their hands were tied by their own lending rules. The business already had substantial borrowing and under their procedures, there was little margin for more. Dealing with a crisis With payments due on his existing loans, the lender could see no way to advance additional funds. Their existing lending was secured on the equipment itself, but with no indication of when the Covid crisis would be over and the business could get back to work and into profit, there was no guarantee that any additional funding could be repaid. The business owner turned to Rangewell for a solution to his funding crisis. We looked at the problems they were facing and saw that getting a CBILS loan was going to be key to the survival of the business. We understood the problem was the existing debts which, as a relatively new business, were high compared to the £1million turnover the business had enjoyed last year. Most lenders took the view that the business would be unable to meet their lending requirements - which had been made more exacting since the Covid emergency. We saw the solution could be provided by re-looking at the business and providing a restructuring of the current debts. By reorganising the Asset Finance arrangements, we were able to reduce the outgoings, reducing our clients existing commitments and freeing up cash to allow him to commit to a repayment plan for additional funds. We then approached a lender who specialises in lending for more challenging business situations. By making use of the government's underwriting guarantee under CBILS, the lender was able to provide a loan of £250,000. The interest rate of 7% was high - but as a lifeline for the business, it was easy for our client to see why it was necessary. This kind of sum can usually be arranged under CBILS without a personal guarantee. However, in this case, the questions about the viability of the business prompted the lender to stipulate some conditions - but crucially they would be prepared to provide the funds required.  By making use of the government's guarantee under CBILS, the lender was able to provide the loan with 5 years to repay - after the initial 12 month repayment holiday. “£250,000 is the help we need. We can stay in business until the customers start buying furniture again. We know that could be months away, but thanks to CBILS I don’t need to pay anything for the finance for a whole year.” The solution we provided We have found that many smaller businesses will need help, not simply to get through the crisis but to access the funding the government has promised. As the UK leaders in business funding for the SME sector, we are in the ideal position to help.  “Rangewell’s expertise helped me at every stage. Restructuring our finances, which lender to approach, how to complete the application, what supporting documents I should need - and made sure I got the funds I needed. CBILS is ideal for us. It makes borrowing a lifeline affordable - especially as there are no repayments to make in the first year.” The funding Rangewell secured £250,000 over 60 months 7 % interest  Repayment holiday for the first 12 months Ready to find the answers to your funding needs? Contact the Rangewell Funding Hotline on 020 3318 2613 Rangewell finds the financial solutions that your business needs Whatever business sector you work in, Covid will mean new financial challenges. The Rangewell Covid Crisis service is designed to provide the right solution. Business Funding Experts will be able to discuss your options and work out the most cost-effective ways to provide the funding you want - whatever the challenge your business conditions are presenting you with. We are independent and we know the entire lending market. That means we take a view that puts your interests first - and if you have not been successful because of your bank’s lending policies, we will work to find one that is more sympathetic. At Rangewell we work to find the financial solutions you need - not excuses Call us. We can help you see if a CBILS or Bounce Back Loan might provide the answers you need and streamline your application - or whether there is another form of funding which could provide a better answer for your particular circumstances. Then we will search the entire lending market to find the most appropriate lender and to make the application for the loan you need.  Calling us could help you save your business. To find out more call the Rangewell Covid Crisis funding helpline on 020 3318 2613 or email [email protected] Keeping your business afloat with help from Rangewell Individual arrangements tailored to your circumstances Adverse Credit – no problem Repayments geared to your turnover Expertise in funding for your sector Bounceback and CBILS expertise Talk to Rangewell – the business finance experts

CBILS Success Story: A second loan for a travel agent

TL:DR A second CBILS loan Urgent update: The government has announced an extension to the deadline for CBILS applications, which will now remain open until January 31st. Don’t miss out on the government-backed funding you must have - call us now. People are currently unable to freely travel abroad on holiday and, as a result, some of the big holiday companies have gone to the wall - and many travel agents look to be in danger of following them. Most travel agents are now online operations, which means they have no problem continuing trading, with many set up with their sales agents working from home, dealing with calls and using the systems remotely. It could be business as usual - if there was any business to do. We were recently approached by the owner of an independent travel agent business who  has a £13 million turnover in a good year - but who had found that 2020 was nothing short of a disaster. “Because most of the business is online these days we could still trade. But it soon became obvious that people were just not going abroad this year. A few were still travelling on business, and people who had family overseas might still need to go - but the bread and butter of our business had vanished.” . There was still some business coming in from loyal customers; the owner had built up a reputation with expats heading back to see family, but or, the business was suffering. With rent and other overheads, profits were small at around 10% of turnover and there was little cash in the bank to ride out the downturn.  But the owner saw that there could be hope for her travel business - if she could take advantage of the government’s support with funding to provide the cash to stay afloat. The government’s key funding initiative is CBILS. The scheme can provide loans of up to £5million, crucially, with nothing to repay for the first 12 months.. It can be the ideal solution for businesses of all kinds that find that their orders have been put on hold because of the lockdown. However, there was a problem. CBILS is provided by commercial lenders, and although the government scheme will reduce the risk of lending, it cannot altogether remove it.  Lenders will therefore lend under their own lending criteria. When the business owner approached his bank for help he found they would not provide additional funds - even under CBILS - because they had already done so.  The business had already applied for CBILS funding on £250,000 back in march,  which they believed would be enough to carry the company through several months of lockdown.  The loan had been provided, but with lockdown continuing for many months after the initial projected period, and the travel industry in chaos. The bank was wary of making a second loan, on the basis that the travel industry as a whole was not achieving the recovery expected. The bank had looked at its loan book on a sector by sector basis, and had taken the decision to refuse any further lending to businesses in it. The business owner was left with a steadily shrinking reserve of cash, and debts that just could not be avoided. How Rangewell found a solution The owner approached us at Rangewell, and asked for help. Funding - fast   CBILS loan £250,000 at 8.5%, with 12 months initial repayment freeze The client had the funding he needed for the project - with nothing to pay back for 12 months “I had been worried that I would have to close down altogether when the Covid crisis kept on. Without the holiday trade, we simply were not in a position to make money. Rangewell explained that they had contacts who could provide the kind of funding we needed now to deal with the way the epidemic was developing - I was only sorry that I hadn’t gone to Rangewell sooner” Ready to find the answers to your funding needs? Contact the Rangewell funding hotline on 020 3318 2613     Rangewell finds the financial solutions that your business needs The Rangewell service is easy to use - and lets you talk to a funding expert to get a solution that is planned around your business needs. Just call us and one of our Business Funding Experts will be able to discuss the options, and work out the most cost-effective ways to provide the funding you want - whatever the challenge your business plans present. We can help you see if a CBILS or bounceback loan might provide the answers you need - or whether there is another form of funding which could provide a better answer for your particular circumstances. It can be the simplest way to find the lifeline you need for your business.   To find out more call Rangewell for an informal discussion on  020 3318 2613 or email [email protected] Keeping your travel business going places with help from Rangewell Individual arrangements tailored to your circumstances Adverse Credit – no problem Repayments geared to your turnover Expertise in funding for your sector Bounceback and CBILS expertise Talk to Rangewell – the business finance experts  

How well has Sunak done?

Rangewell’s analysis of economic data during the Coronavirus pandemic to assess the impact of the Government Support packages Summary  There is significant evidence to show that UK businesses were on ‘v’ shaped recovery courses when restrictions were eased in June. Since September, when tighter restrictions were implemented, this recovery has slowed. As we exit the firebreaks and lockdowns, there are signs that the recovery from the Government's restrictions on trade will be faster than that of the spring closures, partly as fewer firms have been affected by the containment but also signs that the Government support measures have worked. We could be on course for a wonky ‘w’ shaped recovery.  All industries saw a dramatic drop in GDP at the start of the pandemic. Some sectors struggled to return to their February levels, while others saw their output bounce back to their pre-March levels by June.  As restrictions came into force throughout by the start of November, the percentage of businesses experiencing a decrease in turnover increased sharply. 50% of businesses experienced a lower turnover to what is normally expected for November.  If you compare June's and October’s drop in expected turnover, it had decreased from 65% in June to just 45% by the beginning of October.  There are signs that businesses are adapting. The proportion of online spending peaked during lockdown. Online sales rose across all sectors when compared with the same time a year earlier.  The proportion of online sales was at 27.5% of overall sales in September, compared with the 20.1% reported in February. Food stores nearly doubled their online proportions from February to September. All UK regions increased their online job adverts in November, with Wales showing the largest increase from 77% to 82% of its 2019 average. This coincides with the end of “firebreak” restrictions in Wales. The highest volume of job adverts compared with its 2019 average was in the East Midlands, at 89%. The government-guaranteed Covid business support loan schemes have delivered £65.5bn of finance businesses to 1.4 million UK businesses.  This includes 1.3 million of Bounce Back Loans worth £42.2billion, just under 78k loans worth £18.5billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and 658 loans worth £4.8billion through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The application success rate remains high with Bounce Back Loans coming out on top with a 79% application success rate, 45% for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, while there is a 62% success rate for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The Devolved Covid Small Business Grants have been popular within the Manufacturing, Construction, Retail, Hospitality and the Arts sectors, while the Devolved Sector-Specific Grants have been utilised by the Transport and Hospitality sectors throughout the UK. By mid-November, those businesses who had not permanently ceased trading saw 60% of the workforce working at their normal place of work. The Arts and Hospitality sectors had the highest proportions of their workforce on partial or full furlough leave under the terms of the UK government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. While heavy industries such as Manufacturing and Construction had the lowest amount of workforce still on either partial or full furlough leave.  The Government's Kickstart Job Scheme for young people has not been widely popular with businesses, with only 2% saying they will or have made use of the Scheme. The Construction industry has adopted the Kickstart Job Scheme more than any other sector but it has only been used by 3% of Construction firms. The Job Retention Bonus has not been as successful as the Treasury might have expected but the silver lining is that 80% of businesses reported they have not/or intend to use the Job Retention Bonus as they do not have furloughed employees.  Unfortunately, 14% of Hospitality firms say that their furloughed workers will be made redundant by the end of the year.  Overview of business performance  All industries saw a dramatic drop in GDP at the start of the pandemic. Some sectors struggled to return to their February levels, while others saw their output bounce back to the levels they were at in February by June.  Monthly output as a proportion of February 2020 output; February 2020 output = 100%. Number of people with at least one positive COVID-19 test result (either lab-reported or lateral flow device), by specimen date. Source: Office for National Statistics, GDP monthly estimate: PHE Weekly Cases data, people tested positive, UK Whole. By the start of November, 50% of businesses experienced a lower turnover to what is normally expected for this time of year. If you compare June's and October’s drop in expected turnover, it had decreased from 65% in June to just 45% by the beginning of October.  However, as local and national restrictions came into force throughout October, by the start of November, the percentage of businesses experiencing a decrease in turnover increased sharply. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  The turnover and profitability data is significant as the ONS’s fortnightly profitability & turnover estimates seem to be following the same trends as the UK monthly GDP estimates. This is despite the fact that fortnightly profitability & turnover estimates are published much earlier than the official monthly GDP estimates. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  All UK regions increased their online job adverts in November, with Wales showing the largest increase from 77% to 82% of its 2019 average. This coincides with the end of “firebreak” restrictions in Wales.  Northern Ireland, where recently “circuit breaker” restrictions have been extended, was the region with the smallest weekly increase in the volume of adverts despite it seeing its first increase in three weeks.  London also had its first weekly increase in job adverts in three weeks. However, it remains the region with the lowest volume of job adverts compared with its 2019 average, at 55%.  The highest volume of job adverts compared with its 2019 average was in the East Midlands, at 89%. Source: Office for National Statistics, Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society The proportion of online spending peaked during lockdown. Online sales rose across all sectors when compared with the same time a year earlier.  The proportion of online sales was at 27.5% in September, compared with 20.1% reported in February. The proportion of online sales increased across all sectors with food stores nearly doubling their online proportions from 5.4% in February to 10.4% in September. Department stores were the only stores to increase sales in September when compared with August. Feedback to the ONS from these stores stated that the online pre-ordering of a new range of gaming products helped boost their sales. Government financial support The government-guaranteed Covid business support loan schemes have delivered £65.5bn of finance to 1.4 million UK businesses.  This includes 1.3 million Bounce Back Loans worth £42.2billion, just under 78k loans worth £18.5billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and 658 loans worth £4.8billion through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. In addition, the Future Fund has seen £875.8m worth of convertible loans approved for 874 companies. The application success rate remains high with Bounce Back Loans coming out on top with a 79% application success rate, 45% for Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, while there is a 62% success rate for the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  The Office of National Statistics reports that Manufacturing, Construction and Hospitality have been the most active sectors for the loan schemes, with 36%, 42% and 34% respectively reserving a Government-guaranteed loan. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  Covid Support Grants is a Devolved support package. The small business grant has been popular with the Manufacturing, Construction, Retail, Hospitality and the Arts sectors throughout the UK, while sector-specific grants have been utilised by the Transport and Hospitality sectors.  Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  Employment support By mid-November, those businesses who had not permanently ceased trading saw 60% of the workforce working at their normal place of work. The Arts and Hospitality sectors had the highest proportions of their workforce on partial or full furlough leave under the terms of the UK government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, at 34% and 22% respectively, while over 98% of heavy industries, such as Manufacturing and Construction, had the lowest proportion of their workforce on either partial or full furlough leave.  Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  The Government's employment incentive schemes have not been widely popular with businesses, with only 29% using or intending to use the Job Retention Bonus and as low as 2% who intend to or have made use of the Kickstart Job Scheme.  Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS)  The Construction industry has adopted the Kickstart Job Scheme more than any other sector, but only by 3% of firms. The Job Retention Bonus has been most popular within the Hospitality sector with 47% using or intending to use the scheme.  On why firms are not using the Job Retention Bonus, 80% reported they did/do not have furloughed employees, while 14% of Hospitality firms say that their furloughed workers will be made redundant before 2021. Source: Office for National Statistics, Business Impact of COVID-19 Survey (BICS) 

Case Study: Cutting the cost of refinance for a doctors' surgery

Cutting the cost of finance - with £4.5 million at just 1.4% As a doctor, you operate a practice that helps patients and benefits the community - but don't forget that you are also operating a business, and getting the right financial solutions is essential for your financial future. At Rangewell, we help practitioners just like you, throughout the medical profession find solutions to their funding needs - and we recently set up funding to refinance £4.5 million of loans. It was a complicated funding package. Our clients were a partnership which operated as a group across three freehold surgeries in South-East England. They had taken out a series of interest-only loans to acquire the properties they worked from, and with the terms of all these loans coming up over the next 18 months, they were keen to find new financial arrangements. But the position was complicated by some other factors: Two of the existing partners of the 7-partner strong group were retiring, with two new doctors ready to join.  All three practices in the group required some refurbishment and the business was seeking an additional £400,000 of funding. The partners had an interest-only deal on their finance and were keen to continue to borrow on that basis. Why interest-only deals are the funding choice for medical practices Most businesses will purchase their premises with a repayment and interest loan which, after a term of 20 or 25 years, will allow them to own the property outright. For doctors buying their surgery, this is less attractive for two reasons. Firstly, it will be considerably more expensive, and the higher monthly expense will mean a reduced income for the partners. The second is that, when it becomes time for a partner to retire, the extra cost commitment of a repayment loan will make the partnership less attractive to an incoming partner - meaning that it may be less easy to attract an incoming doctor to buy out the retiring partner, or to only be able to do so on reduced terms. The ability to reduce outgoings both for existing partners and for potential partners means that the lower costs of an interest-only loan are preferred. The problem the partners faced The current problem with interest-only loans is that, when starting to look at ways to replace existing funding arrangements, lenders have become reluctant to offer interest-only arrangements in the current, unsettled climate. Those that will are likely to reserve funding for existing clients only - making it more difficult to shop around for a better deal. When the partners approached their bank, they were told that lower interest rates might be available - but that because of the size of the borrowing, the extra sum required and the changes in the partner line-up, interest-only funding was no longer being offered. The new loans would need to be on an interest and repayment basis which, despite the fall in rates since the loans were first taken out, their repayments would actually go up rather than down. Rather than spend valuable time calling around, they realised that calling in specialist help was necessary, and contacted us at Rangewell. Do you need help with your funding challenges? Contact our Funding Team today for innovative answers when others say 'no' How we found a solution We knew that in the current climate, large interest-only loans can be more difficult to arrange - the low interest rates would make this kind of lending very attractive for borrowers - but less than cost-effective for lenders.  However, the status of our clients as medical professionals would make it easier to get the loan required - and the fact that the client had left us plenty of time to arrange the lending would help us negotiate the most favourable rates by talking to a number of banks. We were able to do this because of three great strengths that we can offer.  We are independent, working with lenders across the entire lending market to ensure that we can find the most cost-effective rates in the entire market We have built up close personal contacts with many lenders, allowing us to negotiate where other lending experts are forced to accept standard rates We have experts in funding for the medical profession - we can put our expertise to work to find solutions for you. Like the clients had found themselves, it initially proved difficult to find a lender prepared to offer the total £4.5 million required on an interest-only basis. However, we persisted and were able to create interest in the loan from a number of lenders who recognised that the nature of the group practice offered real security - and that the introduction coming from the Rangewell team was further evidence of the viability of the deal. With multiple offers on the table, we were able to negotiate and ensure that our client could have all the funding they needed from a lender that was most eager to help. The funding the Rangewell experts arranged. £4500000 over 20 years on an interest-only basis 1.4% above base rate The partners' reaction “We were delighted by the deal Rangewell arranged for us. We wanted to take advantage of the lower rates now available, we needed additional funding for our development plans, and things would have been difficult if we had stayed with our existing lender - even if they had been prepared to offer us the extra cash we needed. Despite rates being now generally much lower than when we took out funding years ago, having to include repayments in the monthly charge would have left us very much worse off. This way, we’ve been able to keep on the interest-only basis we wanted, up our borrowing and still reduce our monthly outgoings.” At Rangewell, we can frequently help find businesses - and especially practices in the medical and related sectors - find answers to funding challenges, when going direct to lenders will not. If you need funding, call us now on 020 3637 4150 or email [email protected] - our experts are ready to help you with your medical finance questions.

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