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What is the position if my turnover is more than £45 million?

With the exception of the Covid-19 Corporate Financing Facility (see below), there was initially little dedicated financial assistance for medium-sized and larger businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak (the so-called “stranded middle”); however, from 20 April 2020 such businesses (with a turnover above £45 million) have been able to access finance via the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (“CLBILS“).

CLBILS operates in a similar manner to CBILS except that a lender can provide:

  • up to £25 million to businesses with turnover from £45 million up to £250 million; and
  • up to £50 million to businesses for those with a turnover of over £250 million.

Finance is available in the form of:

  • term loans
  • revolving credit facilities (including overdrafts)
  • invoice finance and
  • asset finance,

in each case available on repayment terms of up to three years.

Several changes to CLBILS took effect from 26 May 2020. The maximum amount available through CLBILS to a borrower and its group increased from £50m to £200m. Term loans and revolving credit facilities over £50m will be offered by CLBILS lenders which have secured additional accreditation. The maximum size for invoice finance and asset finance facilities remains at £50m. Companies borrowing more than £50m through CLBILS will be subject to further restrictions on dividend payments, senior pay and share buy-backs during the period of the loan. Further information on the most recent changes, including new provisions on seniority of CLBILS facilities, can be found on the CLBILS page on the British Business Bank website. There is also an in-depth FAQs section for businesses, which has the full details of the changes to the scheme.

Unlike CBILS, the UK government will not make payments to cover the interest and any lender-levied fees in the first 12 months of any facility so these larger businesses will not benefit from the no upfront costs and lower initial repayments that smaller businesses eligible for CBILS benefit from. The other key provisions of CLBILS, such as the eligibility criteria, the 80% government-backed guarantee and security, are similar to those of CBILS.

Eligibility is similar to CBILS and businesses must:

  • Be UK-based in its business activity
  • Have an annual turnover of more than £45 million
  • Have a borrowing proposal which the lender would consider viable, were it not for the current pandemic, and for which the lender believes the provision of finance will enable the business to trade out of any short-term to medium-term difficulty
  • Self-certify that it has been adversely impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Not have received a facility under the Bank of England’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility.

Businesses from any sector can apply, except the following:

  • Credit institutions (falling within the remit of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive), insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • Building Societies
  • Public-sector bodies
  • Further-education establishments, if they are grant-funded
  • State-funded primary and secondary schools

All lending decisions remain fully delegated to the accredited lenders.

Related FAQs

What is IR35?

IR35 is an anti-tax avoidance regime which is intended to tackle (in HMRC’s view) the long standing issue of individual contractors providing their services or labour via an intermediary – which is usually a personal service company (referred to as a PSC). We’ll talk about PSCs here, but there are other types of intermediaries that are caught.

HMRC’s view is that this arrangement is often considered to be disguised employment and therefore a tax-avoidance arrangement.

So IR35 is essentially a test of employment status – and if, once you apply the test, the contractor should be an employee, they should then be taxed as an employee.

I submitted my online visa application but couldn't book an appointment, what should I do?

Normally, once you have submitted the online visa application and paid the fee, you have to attend an appointment to enrol your biometrics and verify your passport within 45 days. This requirement has been relaxed due to the visa application centres being closed.

Now that application centres have mostly reopened, you must book and attend an appointment to complete the application process. However, the Home Office has recently introduced the IDV app which allows applicants who previously gave their fingerprints as part of a previous application since July 2015, to upload a photo electronically. There will then be no need to attend a Visa Application Centre to submit their biometrics. Applicants who are eligible to use this electronic option will be contacted by UKVI.

I work in construction. Should construction sites continue to operate?

The formal Government position relating to construction sites is that construction work should continue on site if it can be conducted safely, and the Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has written an open letter to the UK Construction Industry thanking it for all its help in the current crisis. The letter also confirms the Government’s current official policy of keeping construction sites open. The full text of the letter can be downloaded.

This also remains the formal position of the Construction Leadership Council (CLC) with the qualification that sites should operate in accordance with Public Health England instructions; without compromising health and safety; and in accordance with the Site Operating Procedures issued last week by the CLC.

In practice, many construction sites have been closed by national developers and house builders due to difficulties with staffing and supply chain, and practical issues with compliance with the social distancing and site operating procedures.

The Scottish Government has recently issued guidance that all non-essential construction sites, which includes housing, office, leisure, schools and retail sites, must close to reduce the risk of the spread of Covid-19.

What should I do if I think this is relevant to my contracts?

It would be prudent to take legal advice early in relation to any issue you foresee in performing a contract. This will allow you to:

  • Ensure that initial contact with your counterparty is framed in the correct way
  • Ensure that any variations are fully documented so that both parties are fully protected
What is the NICE guidance around clinical decision-making?
  • Be alert to the fact that guidance on treating Covid-19 may change with emerging knowledge/scientific data and this may require subsequent modifications to treatment.
  • Critical care staff should support healthcare professionals who do not routinely work in critical care but need to do so.