Figures for November 2012 from the Finance & Leasing Association released today show a large increase in finance for plant and machinery and, continuing a long-term trend, a significant increase in finance for IT equipment.
Finance leasing and hire purchase remain popular choices with businesses, growing by nine per cent and 12 per cent respectively in the eleven-month period to November 2012.
Geraldine Kilkelly, head of research and chief economist at the Finance & Leasing Association said: -
“The figures show growth in finance for key asset sectors as companies invest in the tools they need to grow their businesses.
“IT equipment finance showed the highest growth in November, leading to new business growth in this market of 25 per cent in the eleven-month period to November 2012.”
A second wave of Innovation Vouchers are being made available through the Technology Strategy Board. The extra funding is for Innovation Vouchers for businesses who want to use public open data to commercialise their ideas and develop products and prototypes.
The Innovation Vouchers scheme was launched in September providing £5,000 to businesses who wanted to develop ideas applicable to Agri-food, Built Environment and Space. As well as the additional funding for open data use, they are also being extended for businesses with innovation ideas in the areas of Energy, Water and Waste.
Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said: “This new wave of Innovation Vouchers will give SMEs a great opportunity to bid for funding that can make a real difference to the growth of their business ideas. They will be able to develop exciting proposals that can make use of open data, which have the potential to unlock great value and boost economic growth. ”There is also real strength across the UK knowledge base in the areas of Energy, Water and Waste. The expansion of Innovation Vouchers in these areas will provide an added boost for businesses looking for suppliers of knowledge who can help explore and develop their innovations.”
The Technology Strategy Board’s chief executive Iain Gray said: ”We’re delighted that as well as offering our own Technology Strategy Board Innovation Vouchers we’ve been able to use our portal as a conduit to 43 other schemes run by universities and other organisations right across the country from Aberdeen to Cornwall, in Wales and Northern Ireland. This provides vital support to businesses starting their innovation journey and making contact with a knowledge supplier for the first time.
“Innovation Vouchers offer a low risk way for small businesses to explore new ideas with a wider network of specialists – ideas that can make a real difference and help them grow.”
More and more businesses are adopting the policy that allows people to bring in their own laptops and tablets to work on – giving them access to emails, fileservers and databases.
Smoothwall said more than a fifth of UK firms, with an average annual IT spend of £50,000 to more than £100m, had already implemented BYOD policies – with the number due to grow rapidly because of users’ familiarity with their own tablets, smart phones and netbooks.
The policy is aimed at making people more productive, but Smoothwall’s experts warn it can put businesses at major risk from cyber-threats and possible legal action.
There are millions of devices out there containing spyware, adware, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, rootkits and other malicious software, according to Smoothwall.
Ian Parrett, Smoothwall director, said: “Obviously the owners of these devices have no idea this software is there and even if they have up to date antivirus and anti-malware software, it won’t protect against the very latest threats that came out that morning – often called ‘zero-day threats’.
“The main problem with BYOD is that mobile devices offer many of the same old fashioned threats that we’ve been fighting for years.
“Whilst it may be very difficult for network managers to keep infected devices off their network, they can make sure that malware can’t do any damage or infect other devices.
“This means having an adequate protection system in place that will effectively ring-fence infected devices.”
New figures from the Finance & Leasing Association show that commercial vehicle finance, IT equipment and plant and machinery finance all grew by more than 20 per cent when compared with February 2011. Car finance and business equipment finance grew by two per cent and five per cent respectively, compared to 2011.
The figures reflect an upward trend in the use of asset finance. In the last 12 months, asset finance provided £21.2 billion for businesses investing in equipment and in 2011 asset finance helped fund 27 per cent of all fixed-capital investment1 in the UK.
Geraldine Kilkelly, chief economist and head of research at the Finance & Leasing Association, commented: “The figures show that February was another strong month, with businesses turning to asset finance to fund investment in new and replacement business equipment. Plant and machinery, IT equipment and commercial vehicles were especially strong, which is a good sign for the economy.
“For some businesses asset finance helps them to replace ageing equipment, while for others it helps them to expand and grow. Whatever the reasons, asset finance plays an important role in funding business investment and in contributing to the economic recovery.”