Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week brings updates from Aviva, GRENKE UK, Mangopay, Simply Asset Finance and Centre for Ageing Better.
UK companies ramp up sustainability efforts
The number of UK companies developing plans to tackle climate change has increased significantly in the past 12 months, according to Aviva‘s annual Climate-Ready index.
Forty-four per cent of UK companies now have a structured plan in place to reduce their carbon footprint and climate impact – up from 34 per cent one year ago.
The most popular action businesses are taking are energy-saving measures (48 per cent) such as turning off lights, increasing the use of renewable energy, and greater waste recycling (54 per cent).
Amanda Blanc, group CEO at Aviva plc, explained her concerns: “I am worried that UK climate action has stalled this year, according to our analysis. The UK’s ambitious climate goals are under threat due to a lack of practical and detailed plans. This puts at clear risk the jobs, growth and the additional investment the UK requires to become more climate-ready.”
UK SMEs rely on credit cards for survival
Over half the UK’s SMEs are relying on credit cards to support their businesses day-to-day, GRENKE UK, the leasing solution partner for small and medium-sized enterprises, has revealed.
After credit cards, business overdrafts and bank loans are jointly the second most popular form of financing amongst SMEs (39 per cent). Meanwhile, 33 per cent reported that government loans are their primary form of financing, reflecting the high levels of government financial support provided to businesses following the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the more recent energy crisis.
David Horton, MD of sales at GRENKE UK, comments: “While credit cards may be easy to secure, it is surprising how many SMEs have become reliant on this type of finance to fund their business. Findings from our Lease of Life report and conversations with the Equipment Supplier community have shown that many of the UK’s SMEs still have limited knowledge of the various forms of financing available to them.
“As high-interest rates begin to hit on demand, employment, and business confidence across the economy, it is critical SMEs need to be far more aware of the financial options available to them and which will give them their opportunities for growth.”
Mangopay authorised as an EMI
Mangopay, a platform-specific payment infrastructure provider, has been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as an Electronic Money Institution (EMI). The new license from the FCA is a key requirement for Mangopay to provide its suite of services to UK-based businesses.
The e-money license enables Mangopay to issue electronic money, facilitate digital payments and provide a range of other payment solutions to meet the needs of its clients and help them navigate the complexities of digital commerce for international growth.
Romain Mazeries, CEO of Mangopay, explained: “Exceptional product development combined with a relentless customer focus is in Mangopay’s DNA, and this FCA authorisation will unlock further innovation in the market. We’re excited to continue serving businesses in the UK having received our new license from the FCA.”
Rising costs remain top concerns for UK SMEs
Simply Asset Finance reveals the top concerns for UK SMEs: Namely, rising operational (79 per cent) and supply chain (75 per cent) costs. Productivity, at 72 per cent, also comes a close third.
Often, trying to manage the top two means that too often, businesses are having to prioritise meeting spiralling costs over investing to solve their productivity issues and readying themselves for growth. Simply Asset Finance also reveals that 20 per cent of businesses have had to overhaul their finances in the past year, with just 13 per cent saying this was to help expand the business.
An overwhelming 86 per cent would restructure their debts if they had the opportunity, highlighting that the profile of funding they accumulated over past years is no longer fit for purpose.
Mike Randall, CEO at Simply Asset Finance, said: “The last few years have been a tale of unparalleled hardship for UK SMEs. After a seemingly endless grind through Covid, economic stagnation, and spiralling inflation, there is growth on the horizon – and the fact that many SMEs are optimistic about their outlook is incredibly encouraging.”
Almost one million over 65s opt to continue working over retirement
There are almost one million more workers aged 65 and above in the UK labour market than there were at the beginning of the century, new data analysis from the Centre for Ageing Better reveals. Around 11.5 per cent are now working past their 65th birthday in this country which is double the 5.2 per cent working in 2000, revealed analysis of official ONS stats.
ONS analysis also reveals that older workers are more likely to be self-employed than younger age groups with workers aged 60 and above now accounting for 17.4 per cent of all self-employed workers in the country in 2022 – up from 11.2 per cent in 2011.
Karen Hancock, research and policy officer at the Centre for Ageing Better, explained: “These figures show once again the ever-growing importance of older workers to the economy in filling labour and skills shortages.
“Workers with up to 50 years of workplace experience have an incredible wealth of knowledge to share which will be to the benefit of employers, co-workers and customers.”