Marijana No Comments

Merchant Cash Advance 101 – Everything UK SMEs Need To Know About Business Cash Advance #1 – Alternative Sources of funding for SMEs

Running a business, of any size and nature, eventually boils down to how well you can handle the numbers. There are, of course, the important calculations about growth and reinvestment, but, as far as the day to day operations are concerned, it’s all about managing the cashflow.

Larger businesses have it slightly easier in this regard. Bigger pockets usually ensure better credit, thereby also implying that such businesses rarely have to borrow in order to look after everyday expenses.

The same, however, cannot be said about an SME. SMEs have a whole different set of questions to answer, and the answer usually lies in how easily, how conveniently, how fast and how affordably they can borrow money. This is where alternative sources of finance come to the fore as many of them have the ability to mould themselves to the exact needs of your business.

Merchant cash advance is among the most popular alternative funding sources for UK SMEs, and we will try to take stock of its features in this article.

What Is Merchant Cash Advance?

Merchant cash advance, also known as business cash advance in many circles, is a fast, unsecured business loan that helps SMEs tackle the cashflow problems. Merchant cash advance is a cash injection that is tied to your future debit and credit card sales. In that sense, merchant cash advance or business cash advance is a good source of alternative funding for B2C SMEs.

Merchant Cash Advance Definition

Merchant cash advance is an unsecured business loan that is repaid through the future debit and credit card sales you make.

Unlike other business loans and overdrafts, there are no fixed monthly repayments to make. There is no APR to worry about either. The equation is fairly simple – the more sales you make, the faster your loan gets repaid. This also means that if you’re experiencing a particularly slow month, your repayments will be proportionately smaller.

Each merchant cash advance account is tied directly to your card terminal (point of sale). So, it’s important that a healthy share of your sales comes through debit/credit card transactions.

Merchant Cash Advance – How It Works

Merchant cash advance is inherently different from other unsecured business loans in that it is based directly on the profitability of your business. Lenders, while assessing the potential of your business, will take a close look at the performance of your business – especially the card terminal transactions. Due to this peculiarity, it becomes important to understand how merchant cash advance really works.

The Process – Take A Moment To Familiarise Yourself With How MCA Works

Merchant cash advance lets you borrow money as and when you need it – but it’s technically not really a loan (we will get down to that part shortly). For now, we suggest you take a moment to understand the process and how it will impact your cashflow.

  1. Any SME that makes card terminal sales can apply for a merchant cash advance. Commercial Finance Network makes this process incredibly easier and faster.
  2. The lenders take a look at the recent history of card based transactions and decide your affordability. This is similar to other forms of credit and loans.
  3. Once the lender determines your affordability, you’re presented with a cash advance offer.
  4. After you accept the quote, the money is transferred directly to your bank account. This process is smooth and involves minimal paperwork. Working with an experienced whole of market broker like Commercial Finance Networks means that you will have the added advantage of speed. You can expect to see the funds in your account in 1-2 business days.
  5. You will start paying the money back to the lender as soon as the repayment period kicks in. The repayments are usually based on your daily business (5-25% of your daily card sales, depending on the offer you’ve agreed to).
  6. There is no conventional interest rate or APR. You’ll essentially be selling a fixed percentage of your future sales to the lender until the advance is fully repaid along with the fees and charges. An upfront interest amount is calculated using the “factor rate”.

Merchant Cash Advance Factor Rate – What It Is & How It Is Calculated

Every MCA quote you will receive will specify a certain “factor rate”. This number essentially replaces the traditional interest rate and tells you everything you need to know about the cost of borrowing.

The factor rate is expressed as a single number that typically ranges between 1.1 and 1.5 (depending on the health of your business and your affordability). For example, if you’re borrowing £10,000 from a lender and the factor rate is 1.1, you will be required to repay £11,000 in total. It’s really as simple as that.

There are a few things to consider here.

The factor rate differs from the APR/interest rate on two counts. Firstly, it is a fixed number that tells you exactly how much you will need to pay. Secondly, it has nothing to do with the balance of the advance that’s unpaid. It doesn’t matter how quickly you pay the MCA off, you will still pay the amount determined by the factor rate.

Merchant Cash Advance Is Not Really A Loan

In the traditional sense of the word, a loan is the amount you borrow and pay back as a function of the interest rate and time. Therefore, it should be easy to see why it’s not a good idea to treat a merchant cash advance as a loan.

As we mentioned earlier, when you borrow money using an MCA, you essentially agree to sell a part of your future revenue to the lender. The lender assumes much less risk here, even though it’s an unsecured mode of credit. We would go so far as to argue that a business cash advance/merchant cash advance is an unsecured counterpart of revenue based alternative sources of funding for SMEs (for example, invoice finance).

How Much Can You Borrow?

Larger businesses usually don’t feel the need to borrow via MCA since they have at their disposal stronger lines of credit from banks and other lenders. SMEs, on the other hand, can borrow enough to tie up the loose ends, get the cashflow in order and access money to fund purchase orders/new business opportunities.

At Commercial Finance Network, we help UK SMEs borrow anywhere between £2,000 and £200,000 as a cash advance from our panel of responsible and specialist lenders.

Please note that the amount you can borrow will depend upon the following factors:

  • The nature of your business and the industry/sector you operate in
  • The average daily turnover (card terminal transactions)
  • The overall profitability of your business

There’s no need to feel overwhelmed by these factors – these are essentially the same factors that lenders will look at while assessing any other loan application.

Please read on to learn more about how we, at Commercial Finance Network, make it easy for you to apply for and get a merchant cash advance from UK-wide lenders.

Merchant Cash Advance – A Short Case Study

Being a leading whole of market commercial finance broker, we get to work with businesses of all sizes. This gives us a unique vantage point regarding the requirements of UK SMEs. The following MCA case study will help our customers and readers understand the practical importance of merchant cash advance as a financing tool.

We recently worked with a London based mobile food startup. Their business model was interesting and had already received a good deal of positive PR in local circles. However, at less than 18 months of age, the business had no history of credit to fall back on, meaning that they couldn’t borrow the money required to grow their business from banks and high street lenders. To receive more funding from investors they already had on board, they had to hit a monthly sales target – a target they couldn’t possibly reach without investing in a new point of sale (a financing catch 22 situation). This meant that they needed at least £20,000 to buy a new van and hire 2 more employees.

After understanding their unique situation, we forwarded their application to a specialist MCA lender who agreed to assess their business.

The following terms were drawn:

  • Cash advance: £20,000
  • Factor rate: 1.20
  • Total amount to be repaid: £24,000
  • Average card sales forecast (per month): £9,000
  • Average card sales forecast (per day): £300
  • Percentage of daily card sales to be paid back: 33% (£100)
  • MCA repaid in around: 240 days (8 months)

As the borrowing business received the money in just about a couple of days, they were able to invest it back readily. This opened up an additional revenue stream for them, and as they reached the targets laid down by the investors, they were also able to access a new line of credit.

Merchant Cash Advance – Who Is It Suited For?

Merchant cash advance is suited for SMEs that:

  • Require money urgently
  • Register significant card sales on a daily basis
  • Operate in cash rich industries and sectors

Are You Eligible For A Merchant Loan (Merchant Cash Advance)?

You’re eligible for a merchant loan if:

  • You’re a UK based business that accepts card payments,
  • You have a merchant account,
  • You generate at least £2,000 in card sales each month (over a minimum of three months),
  • You are a registered business (sole trader, partnership or limited company)

Advantages Of Business Cash Advance (MCA)

Now that we’ve seen how MCA works, let’s now see what advantages it has to offer to the borrower.

1. It’s Fast

The most important advantage is the speed. When you work with an experienced broker and specialist lenders, you can expect the entire process to complete within a matter of hours. This not only saves you a great deal of hassle, it also lets you put the money towards the requirements as soon as possible.

2. It’s Flexible

Since there is no interest rate to worry about, you know how much you’re going to have to pay back. This makes merchant cash advance incredibly flexible. On a good day, you will pay more and on a slower day, you’ll pay that much less. In other words, you will never be put in a position where you have to stretch your finances thin just to make the repayment.

3. No Need To Draw From Your Cash Transactions

You will only pay back a part of your card sales. You will still have full control over all the cash sales you make during this period.

4. No Collateral/Security Required

MCA is an unsecured form of credit. You will not be required to raise a deposit or collateral to get approved.

5. Poor/No Credit Shouldn’t Be A Problem

Most lenders tend to approve merchant cash advance applications from SMEs that have poor/no history of credit as long as the business performance is promising.

6. MCA Works With All Major Card Terminals

All major card terminals and machines are compatible with the auto debit facility for card sales.

7. MCA Can Be Topped Up

Some lenders provide the option of topping up your existing MCA account based on your history of repayment and business performance. This allows you to borrow more as and when required.

Relative Shortcomings Of Business Cash Advance (MCA)

  • Merchant cash advance is not at all suitable for businesses that do not accept card payments.
  • Young businesses that have little to no history of card sales find it difficult to get approved.
  • While MCA helps you gain access to funds faster, it also means that your daily cash flow will be impacted as long as the advance isn’t fully paid back.

How To Apply For A Merchant Cash Advance?

Merchant cash advance is a specialty form of financing. As is the case with all such finance products, it’s always a good idea to work with specialist lenders. Generic high street lenders don’t have the expertise or experience required to make such deals work, and the borrower has to face the brunt in the form of an unreasonably expensive offer.

At Commercial Finance Network, we help you get fast, flexible and low factor rate MCA offers from some of the most experienced and trusted specialist lenders across the UK.

Applying is easy – just fill in this form to message us or call us on 03303 112 646 to speak to a merchant cash advance specialist.

A Merchant Loan Can Be Used The Way You Want To

Unlike a mortgage or asset finance, merchant cash advance can be used to fund any and every business requirement as you see fit. Common examples include:

  • Opening up a new location
  • Managing the daily cashflow
  • Staff salaries
  • Funding new purchase orders
  • Refurbishments
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Purchasing new equipment
  • Investing
  • Paying off other loans

Make Merchant Cash Advance Work For Your Business

Given the number of positives it brings on board, merchant cash advance is undoubtedly one of the most versatile financing tools an SME can rely on.. To know more about how an MCA can help you grow your business and take care of emergency requirements, call us on 03303 112 646. You can also apply for a merchant cash advance directly by filling in this online form.

Marijana No Comments

FACT Report Shows Buy To Let Mortgage Market Stable

The buy to let mortgage market is stable according to the latest FACT (Financial Adviser Confidence Tracking) report from Paragon.

The FACT report, based on interviews with 201 mortgage intermediaries, revealed a slowdown in overall mortgage business during Q3 2019, but stability in the buy to let market.

The average number of mortgages introduced per office in Q3 2019 was 21.9, down 3 per cent from 22.5 in the second quarter and the lowest figures since Q2 2017. The average number of mortgages introduced per adviser also fell, down from 7.9 to 7.4.

Despite this slowdown, the FACT report showed that the buy to let market has remained relatively stable since a notable decline in 2016 and comprised 17 per cent of mortgages introduced in the quarter, up 2 per cent from 15 per cent in Q2 2019.

Remortgaging was again the principal type of borrowing amongst homeowners, accounting for 46 per cent of mortgages introduced in Q3 and maintaining the disparity that has been widening at modest pace over the last five years. Elsewhere, next time buyers accounted for 18 per cent of new business, down from 19 per cent in the previous quarter, and first-time buyers fell from 18 per cent to 16 per cent.

In terms of buy to let business completed in Q3 2019, first-time landlords grew from 11 per cent to 13 per cent and remortgaging climbed from 52 per cent to 55 per cent. However, the proportion of landlords raising finance for portfolio extension was smaller, down from 23 per cent of business in the second quarter to 20 per cent.

Looking ahead, the FACT report showed intermediaries forecast a 2 per cent pick-up in overall business over the next 12 months and a 1 per cent increase in buy to let.

John Heron, Director of Mortgages at Paragon, said: ‘After a number of years of instability and negative sentiment in the buy to let market, it’s encouraging to see mortgage intermediaries forecasting increased buy to let business over the next 12 months. However, the market overall has been constrained by the current Brexit uncertainty and it remains difficult to see exactly when this will end.’

The FACT Index score, designed to establish advisers’ overall confidence in the mortgage market is 97.8 for Q3, down 11.2 compared with six months ago and the lowest score recorded since Q1 2017.

Source: Residential Landlord

Marijana No Comments

UK economy dodges recession, but annual growth slowest since 2010

UK economy grew at its slowest annual pace in nearly a decade during the three months to September as the global slowdown and Brexit worries hit manufacturing and business investment, official figures showed on Monday.

While the economy dodged outright recession, the rebound in quarterly growth was smaller than expected.

Output fell in August and September – when Britain looked at risk of leaving the European Union without a transition deal.

A month before an early election, finance minister Sajid Javid hailed what he called “solid” growth figures, a view challenged by the opposition Labour Party.

“The fact that the government will be celebrating 0.1% growth in the last six months is a sign of how low their hopes and expectations for our economy are,” Labour’s top finance official John McDonnell said.

Economists said ongoing political uncertainty and a weak global backdrop could prompt the Bank of England to cut interest rates next year, even if Prime Minister Boris Johnson passes his Brexit deal before a new Jan. 31 deadline.

“Narrowly avoiding a recession is nothing to celebrate,” said Tej Parikh, economist at the Institute of Directors. “The UK economy has been in stop-start mode all year, with growth punctuated by the various Brexit deadlines.”

Annual gross domestic product growth fell to 1.0% in the third quarter from 1.3% in the April-June period, the Office for National Statistics said, its lowest since early 2010.

This was weaker than the euro zone, which grew by 1.1%.

The quarterly growth rate recovered to 0.3% after contracting 0.2% in the three months to June when businesses wrestled with an overhang of raw materials stockpiled before the original Brexit deadline in March.

But it was a weaker rebound than the 0.4% growth predicted by the BoE and private sector economists.

BOE RATE CUT?
Britain’s economy has lost momentum since the 2016 Brexit referendum, before which it typically grew more than 2% a year.

Last week the BoE nudged up its growth forecast for 2019 to 1.4% from 1.3%. This would be the same growth rate as last year and the weakest since the financial crisis. For 2020, the BoE expects a slowdown to 1.3%.

Two BoE policymakers voted to cut rates last week and others could follow if growth remains weak and uncertainty persists about the longer-term trade ties between Britain and the EU.

“The BoE forecasts an investment rebound if a Brexit deal removes no-deal risk but we think this is optimistic,” said Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers.

Business investment held steady in the third quarter but dropped by 0.6% on the year, the ONS said.

Manufacturing output fell more than expected, down 0.4% on the quarter and 1.8% on the year.

Household spending, which has been more resilient than business investment, due to low unemployment and rising wages, rose by 0.4% on the quarter. Government spending grew by 0.3%.

Editing by William Schomberg and Ed Osmond

Source: UK Reuters

Marijana No Comments

Average price paid for a house rose to the highest level in over a decade during third quarter

THE north hit the highest average price paid for properties on the open market for more than a decade, new research from Ulster University has shown.

The average price of home bought here rose to £171,763 between July and September .

House prices were up by five per cent in the third quarter of 2019 compared with the same period last year and 5.7 per cent up on the second quarter of 2019.

The University’s quarterly house price index, produced with the Progressive Building Society and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), recorded 2,339 transactions in the three months to the end of September.

The number of properties sold for under £100,000 fell by six per cent during the third quarter, accounting for 18 per cent of all deals done. The number of homes sold at below £150,000 was also down slightly to 55 per cent.

While the overall number of transactions were done on the last quarter, the number of higher value deals were up.

But the research found that Brexit and the associated economic uncertainty continued to curtail purchaser confidence and transaction levels.

Some estate agents did report an increase in house buying the first-time-buyer sector of the market over the course of the third quarter.

Head of research of the NIHE, Kathy Greene said: “These figures reflect the highest average price of properties sold on the open market in Northern Ireland for more than a decade, with a strong level of transactions reflecting ongoing demand, especially for affordable dwellings.

“There is reason to expect that the market will remain relatively healthy in the immediate future, while 2020 may bring a greater degree of clarity about some of the factors influencing the longer-term outlook.”

Lead researcher, Dr Martin Hinch from Ulster University said the third quarter reflected an element of “buoyancy” in the north’s housing market, following a prolonged period of relatively passive house price performance.

“This growth suggests robust market sustainability and displays a level of resilience through what has been an unprecedented and continued period of uncertainty,” he said.

“The ongoing Brexit situation together with the outcome of the upcoming general election will undoubtedly exert a significant short term influence upon the political and economic direction of the UK and Northern Ireland over the coming months.”

Progressive Building Society’s finance director Michael Boyd said the north remains one of the most affordable housing markets in the UK. Nevertheless, he said the rise in prices represented a welcome stimulus to the local market.

“However, there is still a reticence amongst some buyers and a requirement of a positive Brexit outcome will be crucial to supporting economic prosperity and the continuation of strong levels of transactions in the housing market.”

By Ryan McAleer

Source: Irish News

Marijana No Comments

UK house prices show signs of recovery

UK house prices are showing signs of recovery amidst ongoing political uncertainty, with several factors supporting the property market, including a slight increase in mortgage approvals and modest wage rises.

As the latest Halifax House Price Index figures show, UK house prices have grown by 0.9 per cent between October 2018 and October 2019, with the average house price now standing at £232,249. While house prices fell by a small 0.1 per cent over the past month, they do show a quarterly rise of 0.2 per cent.

The even better news for both home owners and those intending to sell is the increased number of property transactions in September – up by 5 per cent, which is the highest level of transactions since August 2017.

However, the figures are also showing that fewer and fewer houses are being put up for sale – likely the consequence of Brexit, the election and, of course the time of year. In fact, the level of new instructions for sale is now the lowest since June 2016, with seller anxiety matching that of the immediate post-Brexit months. Buyer demand is also declining, although not as fast as the supply of housing (15 per cent vs. 37 per cent).

Russell Galley, Managing Director of Halifax, says, ‘Average house prices continued to slow in October, with a modest rise of 0.9 per cent over the past year. While this is the lowest growth seen in 2019, it again extends the largely flat trend which has taken hold over recent months.

‘A number of underlying factors such as mortgage affordability and wage growth continue to support prices, however there is evidence of consumers erring on the side of caution.

‘We remain unchanged from our view that activity levels and price growth will remain subdued while the UK navigates political and economic uncertainty.’

BY ANNA COTTRELL

Source: Real Homes

Marijana No Comments

UK business confidence slumps to seven-year low

Confidence among UK businesses tumbled to its lowest level in over seven years last month, according to a new report, as yet more political uncertainty cast gloom over the economy.

Businesses in Britain’s manufacturing sector were the most pessimistic. Manufacturers are now facing “recessionary conditions,” the latest optimism index from accountants BDO said today.

The optimism index – a gauge of how companies are feeling about the economy – fell 0.67 points to 95.59 in October, just above the 95 level which indicates zero growth.

The fall was driven by a steep fall of 3.38 points in the manufacturing sector. Output in the sector also suffered, falling for a thirteenth consecutive month to hit 87.10 points. BDO said the score was “well into recessional territory”.

British growth has slowed considerably in 2019, but looks set to avoid a recession despite the economy contracting in the second quarter.

Manufacturing has borne the brunt of the slowdown, with weak global demand and ongoing Brexit uncertainty taking its toll on business investment, orders and exports.

Despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson striking a Brexit deal with the European Union in October, the upcoming General Election means uncertainty is set to linger over the economy for the time being.

BDO partner Peter Hemington said: “The last time we saw business confidence at such a low level was when the country was staggering out of the doldrums caused by the global financial crisis.

“With an unpredictable general election looming, continued political volatility in the UK remains a key driver of falling optimism.”

Dwindling confidence in the economy was accompanied by a fall in business output in October, BDO said.

Worryingly, not only the manufacturing sector but also the UK’s giant services sector registered a fall in output on BDO’s gauge.

Hemington said things did not look likely to pick up soon. “Given British businesses are telling us that new hires and investment are hard to justify at the moment,” he said, “growth will continue to remain elusive until there is some kind of resolution of the Brexit conundrum.”

By Harry Robertson

Source: City AM

Marijana No Comments

Controversial Armagh housing scheme to be recommended for approval

A controversial plan for a new housing development in the Ashley area of Armagh is to be recommended for approval two years after proposals were first revealed.

As Armagh I reported in November 2017, an application had been submitted to build 47 houses at a cost close to £3.5 million.

Amended plans were brought forward almost a year later with a new application on a smaller scale.

And it is this – consisting of a total of 38 properties – which planning officials at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council are poised to recommend for approval.

The new development would have access from Ashley Gardens.

It is described currently as a site made up of “agricultural lands”.

The exact location is given as “lands at Ashley Park (adjacent and west of No’s 7-9 11 12 14-16 Ashley Gardens adjacent and south of No’s 2 3 4 and 4a Ashley Heights adjacent and east of No’s 88 90 92 94 96 and 98 Newry Road and adjacent and north of No’s 8 10 12 and 14 Ashley Avenue)”.

A total of 13 objections had been received in response to the original application, some from the same objectors.

The applicant behind the proposals is Silverbridge-based Blackgate Development Ltd.

The development would consist of two-storey semi-detached and detached homes.

Among those objecting are residents who feel their properties will be impacted upon as they are living in bungalows.

One wrote that they were “deeply unhappy and distressed” by the proposals and insisted that “the surrounding properties are all bungalows”.

She claimed there would be a “loss of natural light”, “loss of privacy” and “loss of view” if proposals proceeded.

The objections and the amended plans have now been considered and planners are of the view that the scheme should be allowed.

That is the opinion which will be presented to the planning committee of ABC Council when it sits on Wednesday.

Councillors there will be tasked with making final decisions.

By Micheal McKenna

Source: Armagh i

Marijana No Comments

Halifax says annual house price inflation slows to lowest growth so far this year

Average house prices were £232,249 in October, Halifax has reported.

The lender said this brought annual inflation to 0.9%.

Halifax managing director Russell Galley said: “Average house prices continued to slow in October, with a modest rise of 0.9% over the past year. While this is the lowest growth seen in 2019, it again extends the largely flat trend which has taken hold over recent months.

“A number of underlying factors such as mortgage affordability and wage growth continue to support prices, however there is evidence of consumers erring on the side of caution.

“We remain unchanged from our view that activity levels and price growth will remain subdued while the UK navigates economic uncertainty.”

The Halifax, which has recently changed how it calculates prices after criticism that its indices were out of sync with others, is still at odds with Nationwide, which also bases its numbers on mortgage approvals.

Nationwide puts the average house price in October at £215,368, saying that annual house price inflation was 0.4%.

By ROSALIND RENSHAW

Source: Property Industry Eye

Marijana No Comments

Brexit and mortgages: how to protect your mortgage against interest fluctuations

What is happening with Brexit and mortgages, and is there a way you can safeguard yourself against the unpredictable effects of Brexit on your repayments? Moreover, given the latest projections of further interest rates cuts by the Bank of England, should you be looking at remortgaging to find the best mortgage deal?

For first-time buyers and those who are coming to the end of their fixed-term period, the announcement that interest rates are likely to remain low will come as a relief – a sudden hike in interest rates resulting in more expensive mortgages is highly unlikely at least in the next year. People remortgaging now are still going to enjoy historically record low interest rates on their mortgage repayments. However, do bear in mind that the rules for remortgaging still mean that you would have to be able to make the repayments if the interest rates were to rise.

The longer term prognosis for what’s going to happen to interest rates remains far less certain. There are two main scenarios you need to bear in mind as a mortgage holder: one is an economic recession, while the other is a strong economic recovery (following, for example, a successful Brexit deal negotiation or the UK revoking Article 50).

If the former were to happen, say as a result of the UK crashing out of the EU without a coherent deal (still a possibility despite the current delay), the pound could take a hit. While this would again mean low interest rates to try and stimulate the economy, it could also mean a loss of jobs – which, of course, would render low interest rates meaningless to someone who is unemployed.

To safeguard your mortgage against this case scenario, it’s a good idea to: 1) reduce your debt; 2) increase your savings; 3) consider income protection insurance that would give you a safety net for your mortgage repayments in case you were to be out of work or have to take on lower paid work.

In the case of an orderly Brexit (or no Brexit – who knows?) and the UK economy regaining confidence, we can expect wage growth. When that happens, inflation rises, which leads interest rates to rise too. Hopefully, in this case scenario, your salary will increase in line with interest rate rises, making mortgage repayments manageable. However, having a decent savings pot for this case scenario is still a good idea – as is being prepared to downsize in case you live in a property with a large mortgage.

BY ANNA COTTRELL

Source: Real Homes

Marijana No Comments

UK job growth slows as Bank of England entertains interest rate cut

The demand for staff from UK employers grew at its slowest rate for almost eight years in October, according to a survey revealed on Friday, appearing to justify two Bank of England rate-setters backing an interest rate cut yesterday.

A monthly index of job vacancies from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation and accountants KPMG fell to 51.7 from 52.6 in September.

It is the index’s lowest level since January 2012 and highlights concerns from the Bank of England that the UK’s labour market may be losing its strength.

It comes a day after two of the Bank of England’s nine interest-rate setters voted to cut interest rates again.

The pair cited signs that the labour marker may be on the turn, despite it being one of the economy’s strong points since the Brexit vote.

The REC report released on Friday showed permanent job placements fell for an eighth consecutive month and at a faster rate than last month.

It comes as official data showed job creation was waning ahead of the previous end of October Brexit deadline.

Vice chairman at KMPG, James Stewart, said the uncertainty around Brexit and the upcoming general election on 12 December had dampened companies’ hiring plans.

“It’s not just businesses that are being cautious, however, and over October we’ve seen job-seekers become increasingly nervous about making a career change,” he said.

By Michael Searles

Source: City AM