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Why rates relief delay underlines alternative finance role

News that SMEs are suffering because the business rates relief promised by the current government has yet to materialise underlines the importance of alternative finance.

Small business owners have long suffered from the business rate blues and the revaluation earlier the year only caused more misery. However, the announcement of a rates relief fund promised some respite, in particular for the most vulnerable companies. Yet the cash has yet to appear.

While it may just be a matter of time before the fund is dispersed – a case of bureaucracy slowing progress – the fact that just a few months of having to pay bigger bills has caused such distress illustrates the precarious financial position of many SMEs.

Business rates are not the only costs that small businesses have to bear. Others include pension auto-enrolment payments, cybersecurity upgrades, late payment issues and costs relating to living wage reform and new apprenticeships regulations.

The strain is made all the worse by Brexit-bred market uncertainty. Tellingly the impact of the decision to leave the EU figures prominently in a new list of UK workers’ leading concerns published in the Indeed Employment Election study (ranked one and four).

The reality is that for many SMEs managing cashflow is a constant challenge and the last thing they need is a delay in help to pay business rates that have risen sharply as a result of the recent system reorganisation.

This is why alternative finance has such an important role to play in the small business finance sector. Services such as invoice finance and asset finance have proved an effective and efficient way for small business owners to safeguard cashflow in the face of traditional lender caution and the various demands on capital.

At present, the political and economic landscapes remain uncertain, but what is clearer is how alternative finance can help small businesses ease the burdens placed upon them.

To find out more about A&T Business Associates services, contact us on 01903 602211 or info@atbusinessassociates.co.uk.

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