Are permitted development rights now in existence for the creation of emergency medical facilities?
Yes. The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Coronavirus) (England) (Amendment) Order 2020 came into force on 9 April 2020 giving permitted development rights for emergency development. The permitted development right is available to local authorities and health service bodies (as defined) on land owned, leased, occupied or maintained by it for the purposes of:
- Preventing an emergency
- Reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of an emergency
- Taking other action in connection with an emergency
It could cover, for example, the temporary change of use of buildings into a Nightingale Hospital or the establishment of a testing centre.
The permitted development right is not permitted in certain instances and is subject to a number of conditions including the notification of the local planning authority and the cessation of the use before 31 December 2020.
Further detail of the permitted development right is available at the link below.
According to the guidelines laid down by the Treasury, many Start-up businesses will not be considered “viable” as they are at an early stage in the investment cycle (i.e. delivering negative returns but with strong growth prospects). This means they are unlikely to qualify for CBILS although for primarily UK based Start-ups it is still worth making enquiries as policies are rapidly evolving.
For early-stage businesses in their first two years of trading, the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans programme (loans £500 to £25,000 at 6% p.a. interest) may be more suitable. Visit www.startuploans.co.uk for more information.
For start-up businesses that are unable to access CBILS, the Government launched The Future Fund in May 2020 via the British Business Bank, which provides convertible loans to UK-based innovative companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. This scheme is available until 30 September 2020 initially.
Your business is eligible if:
- it is UK-incorporated – if your business is part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible
- it has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last five years
- none of its shares are traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue
- it was incorporated on or before 31 December 2019, and
- at least one of the following is true: (i) half or more employees are UK-based; and/or (ii) half or more revenues are from UK sales.
Further information is available on the Government website, www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund
The Government is also offering additional support for small and medium size firms that are primarily focused on research and development. This targeted support is available through a continuity grant and loan scheme. The grant scheme is only available until 29 May 2020 while the loan scheme is open for applications until all the money is allocated or 31 December 2020 (whichever is earlier). This scheme is administered by Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, and this support will mostly only be available to existing Innovate UK customers.
Further information is available on the on the Government website, www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package
Overall it is our experience that the Courts are quickly adapting in the context of the Coronavirus epidemic and making pragmatic decisions. The Judges seem live to the difficulties currently been faced by practitioners dealing with litigation and they are applying the new guidance.
The Courts are also mindful of pressures on NHS frontline staff and are taking steps not to put additional pressures on them at this time, including in our experience vacating an imminent Trial.
Although there is no formal selection process that must be followed in order to furlough staff, the basis for selecting who will be furloughed should be explained to all relevant staff. Basing this on work levels, required skills or whether work can in fact be carried out efficiently from home will help this process. Staff can be invited to volunteer to be furloughed or re-furloughed. Any requests can be considered on a case by case basis. It may be that a particular skill set is required which may result in an employee’s request being refused.
Employees who are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from the coronavirus can continue to be furloughed. For example, employees that need to look after children can be furloughed, as you have previously submitted a claim for them in relation to a furlough period of at least 3 consecutive weeks taking place any time between 1 March 2020 and 30 June.
As more people return to work, there is an increased chance of more parents having childcare issues until Schools are fully open. However, they can’t be placed on furlough unless they had been on it before. So it would likely be unpaid leave, unless the government amends the scheme to grant an exemption.
The Home Office has provided useful guidance on how to carry out a compliant Right to Work check using the temporary adjustments in place for Covid-19. In summary:
- You will need to ask the job applicant to send you digital copies of their original documents, for example by scan, photo or mobile app.
- Hold a video call with the job applicant and ask them to show their original documents on camera so you can check them against the digital copies you have already received.
- On the date you made the check, record that you have done this by using the following wording “adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to Covid-19”. Evidence of right to work checks still need to be held securely either in paper or electronic format.
- You can use the online RTW checking service where the job applicant has Biometric Residence Permit or pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. You should do this whilst on the video call with the applicant/employee, and you must first obtain their permission to view their details on this scheme.