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What other financial support is there for businesses?

 Aside from the CBILS Scheme, the Government have, or are in the process of, implementing several different schemes to support businesses financially through the Covid-19 outbreak.

Related FAQs

What will happen with inquests during the coronavirus outbreak?

The Chief Coroner adopts the approach taken by the Lord Chief Justice in that no physical hearing should take place unless it is urgent and essential business, and it is safe for all involved. If a hearing is to take place, social distancing must be maintained. All hearings that can take place remotely should do so, if it is not possible for social distancing requirements to be met. The expectation is that some hearings will go ahead, most notably Rule 23 hearings. Coroners are reminded that they must however conduct any remote hearings from a court. Decisions as to the most appropriate approach will be left to the senior coroner in that jurisdiction.

As we have already seen, some inquests will be adjourned, most notably those with multiple witnesses and/or a jury.

The guidance stresses the need, when dealing with medical professionals, for coroners to recognise their primary clinical commitments, particularly in these high-pressured times. This could mean avoiding or deferring requests for lengthy reports/ statements and accommodating clinical commitments if clinicians are called as witnesses.

The guidance encourages proactive reviews of outstanding responses to Prevention of Future Death reports and extending timescales for Trusts to respond.

Can I use my Business Interruption insurance to make a claim?

The FCA’s test case in the Supreme Court ruled overwhelmingly in favour of policyholders.  However, business interruption cover generally has the prerequisite of physical damage or loss to the property (or in some circumstances, the presence of a notifiable disease at the property or within a certain radius of it), to recover losses caused by the interruption to your business. The onus is on insurers to re-assess those claims which are impacted by the Supreme Court’s judgment and to make contact with the policyholders regarding next steps. If you have not already made a claim, in the first instance the terms of any policy should be checked carefully to see whether business interruption cover is provided.

What does information and consultation involve?

There are two stages:

  • Stage 1 – The provision of written information to the representatives.
  • Stage 2 – Consultation on the proposed redundancies “with a view to reaching agreement” about certain matters

Stage 1: Provision of information

The first stage in the collective consultation process is to provide the representatives with written information including details of the proposed redundancies (often called a section 188 letter). This information must be given to the appropriate representatives and the time limit before dismissals can take effect does not start to run until they have received it. It is this information which ‘starts the clock’.

It is possible that there will be changes to the proposals during the consultation process: indeed that is part of the reason for the process. The employer’s obligation is not just to provide the appropriate representatives with the relevant information at the start of the process. It is under a continuing obligation to provide them with information in writing about any developments during the consultation process (although later changes do not ‘restart the clock’ before dismissals can take effect).

Stage 2: Consultation on the proposed redundancies “with a view to reaching agreement” about certain matters

The consultation process must include consultation “with a view to reaching agreement with the appropriate representatives” on ways of:

  • Avoiding the dismissals
  • Reducing the number of employees to be dismissed
  • Mitigating the consequences of the dismissals
What will be the impact of the proposals on suppliers?

The change in the law has the potential to place much greater financial risks on suppliers, making it more difficult to exit a contract with a customer of doubtful solvency.  This will place increased emphasis on appropriate financial due diligence and credit checking before entering into supply contracts.

In addition to the obvious issues around financial risk, suppliers will also need to think carefully about how their contracts are drafted.  For example, any form of right that is drafted so as to be triggered on customer insolvency will clearly be problematic.  These could include:

  • Retention of Title provisions, which are commonly drafted so that the right to enter premises and retake possession of the goods is triggered on insolvency;
  • Provisions for brand protection, which seek to control how goods are dealt with on termination of the contract.

This is potentially a very significant development for many businesses.  We would strongly recommend specialist advice be obtained so that:

  • businesses understand the potential increased risks faced; and
  • where possible, contracts are updated so that appropriate protections are maintained.
What are the new rules around holiday entitlement?

Workers who have not taken 20 days holiday entitlement due to Covid-19 can now carry it over into the next 2 leave years. It only applies where it was not reasonably practicable for a worker to take their annual leave due to the coronavirus.