Spring Budget could boost peer-to-peer sector

Spring Budget could boost peer-to-peer sector

Small business tax rises and changes to the Innovative Finance Isa (IFIsa) in the forthcoming Budget could boost the peer-to-peer (P2P) finance sector, a lender has claimed.

On Wednesday (8th March), the chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond will announce the spring Budget, which will set out the government’s plans for the economy using data and forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility.

Stuart Law, CEO and co-founder of Assetz Capital, said that Mr Hammond could make changes critical to the success or failure of the IFIsa.

He added that this may also make P2P lenders even more attractive to small businesses if punitive small business taxation is also addressed.

"Despite the relative disinterest from some, P2P lenders should be watching the Budget closely for any mention of the [IFIsa] and the rules surrounding it.

“Under the current rules, investors are limited to investing through a single platform in any given year, which may be unwise from a risk-management perspective.

“The ability to invest through multiple platforms would significantly increase the scope for diversification and is something the P2P sector would greatly benefit from.

“I’d even go as far to say it could be the difference between the entire scheme being deemed a success or failure.

“Collectively we are also hoping for an increase in the IFIsa limit – from £20,000 per year to £25,000.

"Another key talking point is likely to be the expected changes to the business rates system that could see some small businesses hit with huge tax hikes, while larger companies are predicting to see their bills fall.

“Companies in the South and Midlands could be particularly hard hit, with SMEs in London predicted to see their bills rise by up to 23.7%.

“If these changes go through as expected, it could significantly impact P2P lenders – like Assetz Capital – that provide loans for creditworthy British SMEs.

“Elsewhere, some are expecting Hammond to map out future increases to personal allowances and the higher-rate threshold.

"While I understand the scepticism towards the relevance of this Budget announcement in the shadow of Article 50, I believe we could see a number of changes and clarifications that could impact the P2P sector in the long term."

Late last year, it was announced that this would be the last spring Budget with the first autumn Budget taking place later in the year.

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