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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 the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus?

The Government has recently passed the Coronavirus Act 2020 in a response to the challenges posed by the pandemic, especially in relation to those facing the NHS during this time of crisis.  NHS Resolution worked closely with the Department for Health and Social Care to draft a clause within the Coronavirus Act providing indemnity for clinical negligence for any coronavirus related activity not currently covered by an existing arrangement.  In order to implement this clause, NHS Resolution has launched the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Coronavirus (“CNSC”).

It is intended that the CNSC will cover new contracts put in place for healthcare arrangements to respond to coronavirus, such as organisations supporting testing arrangements or Independent Contractors making agreements with NHS England and NHS Improvement to release capacity to the NHS.  Membership is not required for this scheme and the contracts entered into will automatically provide indemnity under the scheme.

The CNSC will not replace existing indemnity provisions made under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts (“CNST”) and it has been confirmed that the new Nightingale Hospitals will be covered by CNST rather than CNSC.  Similarly, NHS Resolution have confirmed that those doctors and nurses returning to practice from retirement, or those joining as students will be covered by the CNST or, where applicable the Clinical Negligence Scheme for General Practice (“CNSGP”).  The CNSC will not cover returning midwives to the profession, but the Royal College of Midwives have confirmed that they will extend all of the benefits of membership including Medical Malpractice Insurance to returning retired midwives.

For more information regarding this please click here.

Can I make a claim under my cancellations/abandonment insurance?

Cancellation insurance usually covers certain expenses and loss of profit, as long as the reason for cancellation is not excluded. These exclusion clauses are often quite wide and exclude avian, swine flu, quarantine, and restrictions of movement as a result of communicable disease. This means that you may not be entitled to compensation under this cover.

Will I have to go to court?

The vast majority of disputes settle without ever reaching a final hearing with something in the region of 2-5% of all cases actually ending up in court at a final trial.  So whilst it is very unlikely you would need to attend a court hearing, it is always a possibility.

Are there specific examples given?

The guidance gives numerous examples of the types of performance adjustment which parties should consider. For example this includes:

  • Varying deadlines (e.g. for performance or payment)
  • Varying compensation (e.g. to recognise increased costs)
  • Varying the nature of performance (e.g. allowing substitute goods, allowing pert delivery of services)

The guidance also encourages a reasonable approach to enforcement, which might encourage delaying issuing formal proceedings, increased use of mediation or providing more information to the other party than would be volunteered under normal circumstances.

How is IR35 changing?

The current position is that the PSC is responsible for assessing whether IR35 applies. This current regime has been difficult to police by HMRC and HMRC considers there is widespread flouting of the rules by contractors.

From April 2021 the responsibility for assessing whether IR35 applies will shift to the end user/client (with the exception of ‘small’ companies) which will require an assessment to be carried out on a contract by contract basis. HMRC anticipates that this will be easier to monitor and that end user businesses will be more compliant.

The reformed regime will apply to payments made on or after 6 April 2021 for services carried out on or after this date.