What are the key questions to ask ourselves as a business?
Some examples of the key questions to ask include:
- Is there still a viable underlying business that is likely to continue beyond the current crisis?
- What does the revised short to medium cash flow look like and will the company continue to be able to pay its liabilities?
- Does the company have the support of all of its stakeholders – lenders, shareholders, customers, suppliers and banks – even though the business might be in breach of its own obligations?
- What measures could (and should) the board put in place to protect creditors, including making sure that exposure to creditors (both collectively and individually) is not increased, assets are not sold at less than value and no creditor is treated more favourably than another?
- Is there still a reasonable prospect of the business avoiding liquidation or administration?
The key question is always whether accepting the money is in the best interests of creditors as a whole bearing in mind that accepting Government support and continuing to trade might increase the company’s overall liabilities. Directors should be mindful that if the business fails, their decisions during this critical time may be scrutinised and it is therefore important that directors have up-to-date financial information and projections to form the basis of any decisions, take stock, get the right advice and document the decisions that are taken.
On 4 May 2020, the Government launched the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), which is intended to cut red tape to enable smaller businesses to access finance quickly during the coronavirus outbreak.
The scheme helps small and medium-sized businesses to borrow between £2,000 and up to 25% of their turnover. The maximum loan available is £50,000.
The government guarantees 100% of the loan and there are no any fees or interest to pay for the first 12 months. After 12 months the interest rate will be 2.5% a year.
The length of the loan is 6 years, but it can be repaid early without penalty. No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.
Under the scheme, lenders are not permitted to take any form of personal guarantee or take recovery action over a borrower’s personal assets (such as their main home or personal vehicle).
Businesses can apply for a BBLS loan if it:
- is based in the UK
- was established before 1 March 2020, and
- has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus.
Any business regarded as being a business in difficulty on 31 December 2019 will need to confirm that it is complying with additional state aid restrictions.
Businesses from any sector can apply, except the following:
- banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
- public-sector bodies, and
- state-funded primary and secondary schools.
Businesses already claiming under the following schemes cannot apply although it is possible to convert an existing loan under such schemes into BBLS:
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
- Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS)
- COVID-19 Corporate Financing Facility.
There are 11 lenders participating in the scheme including many of the main retail banks, which are listed on the British Business Bank’s website (www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-schemes/bounce-back-loans/for-businesses-and-advisors/). Applicants are directed to approach a suitable lender via the lender’s website. If an applicant is declined by a lender, they can apply to other lenders in the scheme.
The lender will ask applicants to fill in a short online application form and self-declare that they are eligible. All lending decisions remain fully delegated to the accredited lenders.
Yes. Their contracts can be renewed or extended during the furlough period without breaking the terms of the scheme.
If the employee’s contract has not already expired, the contract can be extended or renewed. The employee may be furloughed provided that they were employed on or before 30 October 2020. You must also have made a RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.
If the employee’s contract expired on or after 23 September 2020, the employee can be re-employed and furloughed. Please note that the employee must have been employed by you on 23 September 2020 and you must have made a RTI submission to HMRC between 20 March 2020 and 30 October 2020.
If it is not possible to find work for the employee to do at home, you do have the option of putting the employee on furlough.
Transparency is considered to be central to the philosophy of the COP. The guidance provides details on issues concerning transparency of proceedings and involvement/attendance of P. Whilst there will be some difficulties with ensuring that remote hearings are accessible to the public as an ‘open court’, provisions have been made for the continued presence of the press where the facilities can accommodate this.
Employers had the ability to furlough extremely vulnerable employees who needed to shield.
If your employee is on sick leave or self-isolating as a result of Coronavirus, including as a result of track and trace, they’ll be able to get Statutory Sick Pay, subject to other eligibility conditions applying.
There is no special exemption for them, so they would need to meet the usual requirements to be placed on Flexible Furlough after 1 July 2020. i.e. They had to have been placed on furlough for at least 3 weeks before 1 July. Otherwise, they could not be furloughed.