Finance firm refusing car loans to hospitality sector

A finance company has told car dealers it will refuse to give loans to people working in the hospitality sector, BBC Scotland has learned.

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions sent a letter to brokers and dealers across the UK saying it would not now lend to people working in the industry.

The company said it wanted to prevent customers being declined loans, which could affect their credit rating.

But one publican said the sector was being “discriminated against”.

Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions is one of the UK’s largest vehicle finance companies.

A spokesman said it had decided to “openly communicate a temporary change to our credit criteria” with its brokers and dealers.

“This decision was made in order to protect individuals in this sector from being potentially declined, and therefore putting customers in a situation that could impact their credit rating,” he said.

Tom Ponton – who has a fleet of cars for several businesses, including one in the hospitality sector – said shopping around could also affect someone’s credit rating.

Mr Ponton, who owns the Oz Bar in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket, said: “I’m shocked and horrified.

“It’s a disgrace and a scandal that they should find an excuse on the back of coronavirus to make it more difficult for the hospitality sector.”

He said those in the industry were being discriminated against.

Mr Ponton added: “It is not our fault that we have had all these restrictions imposed on us, and now we are being penalised further for the situation these restrictions have put us in.”

A spokeswoman for the UK trade association Finance and Leasing Association said she recommended that people should shop around for finance.