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S&U criticizes economic policies in the UK as stifling to growth

10th Aug 2023 13:19

(Alliance News) - S&U PLC on Thursday criticized current economic policies in the UK, saying they reduce consumer confidence and create barriers to the firm's "usual rate of sustainable growth".

S&U is a Birmingham, England-based specialist motor and property financier. Shares in the firm were up 0.2% at 2,284.00 pence on Thursday afternoon in London.

"The past decade has seen persistent government policies which act against a climate of entrepreneurial activity, enterprise, and growth. More recently, record levels of taxation, steeply rising interest rates, massive government borrowing, and a failure to stem the tide of incessant regulation, especially in the financial services industry, have all contributed to this," the company said.

"Although S&U has historically outperformed despite these challenges and will continue to do so, it does not operate in a vacuum. In such an environment, protecting the quality of the group's assets and producing responsible growth requires constant innovation and attention to detail. These produce consistently good results, although frustratingly given global investor perceptions of the UK, this is not reflected in S&U's or general stock values.

"Too often it feels like a tuned and trained athlete is required to continue to perform, wearing army boots on a cinder track," S&U lamented.

The firm added it continues to hope for a "glimmer of consistent pro-enterprise policy" from the current UK government.

Despite the challenges, S&U said it has continued to trade well since May 21.

It noted that Advantage Finance, its motor finance business, continues to produce good results despite a "slower and more price-competitive" market, with advance levels in the first half of 2023 finishing 11% below the previous year.

At Aspen Bridging - which offers bridging, light development and bridge to let loans of up to GBP10 million in England and Wales - S&U said current residential sentiment and market conditions are providing challenges. It said new business transaction were lower than budget, both in size and number, though it added improvements in interest rate and lower variable costs have provided "some compensation".

"S&U continues to hone the service it provides to every customer and to ensure wherever possible that this results in outcomes which are both satisfactory and commercially rewarding. Irrespective of the economic climate, we shall continue to do so. Given our expertise and long experience, S&U always takes a positive view of the future, and of our proven ability to provide sustainable rewards to our owners, customers and staff," said Chair Anthony Coombs.

S&U will announce its half-year results on October 3.

By Heather Rydings, Alliance News senior economics reporter

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