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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

Do I need to treat everyone the same and bring them all back at the same time?

No. You should always treat employees consistently and fairly, but this doesn’t mean treating them all the same, or applying the same requirements. For those employees who have been homeworking and doing so without any problems, then they should be allowed to continue to do so.

We would anticipate that the vast majority, if not all, businesses will be approaching the return on a phased basis, which inevitably means some employees returning to work sooner than others. In reality then, you aren’t treating everyone the same, but try to be fair and consistent; you need to do what works best from a business perspective, but can you rotate people, require them to come in at different times etc. Where people perceive that the planned return is being worked out fairly they are far more likely to buy into this, which will help avoid resentments building up between colleagues.

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Can I force ways of reducing employment costs onto the workforce?

Some of these can be implemented by you, some need agreement or consultation and some depend on the wording of contracts. We’ll explain more in relation to each option.

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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.
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Are the courts continuing to operate during Lockdown 3.0?

With another lock-down in force in England, it has been confirmed that the courts will remain open. This is different to the first lockdown in March 2020, in which the majority of courts were closed and most face to face hearings did not take place. Hopefully, this new lock-down measure will ensure that cases are still being heard at a steady rate, and there should not be a backlog for your case to be dealt with.

Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland QC MP emphasised the importance of maintaining safety during the new measures: “Our courts & tribunals continue to be an essential public service, served by essential workers and meeting Covid-secure standards endorsed by public health officials. With the use of remote hearings wherever appropriate, this vital work can and should continue.”

A large sum of £110m has been spent in recent months to make courts safe and to ensure that trials should go ahead where necessary. As a result of the expenditure, hearings can now still take place both in person, whilst adhering to the rules, as well as remotely. Your case may be heard in court if it is deemed as being “necessary in the interest of justice”.

Precautionary measures, such as social distancing, will still be in place, with Judges and magistrates ensuring that this happens.

Lord Chief Justice, Lord Burnett of Maldon commented: “The next few weeks will present difficulties in all jurisdictions. But as before judges, magistrates, staff, the legal profession and others involved in the system will meet them and ensure that the administration of justice continues to function in the public interest.”

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VIDEO: Managing your business's funding – Directors' responsibilities

Ward Hadaway in conversation with Begbies Traynor webinar was recorded on Tuesday 16th June.

The business spotlight is firmly on Directors. Difficult, sometimes drastic decisions need to be made in unprecedented times. But the consequences of those decisions have long shadows, and Directors need to consider their future position through the lens of their creditors, shareholders, funders, HMRC and even the courts.

In conversation with leading business rescue and recovery specialists, Begbies Traynor, we focused on the proactive approach Directors can take in these exceptionally challenging times. We discussed very practical advice about the quickest routes to funding, how to bolster cash flow, protecting the Board, and ultimately how to be proactive and in control of the process if you think there is no way back for your business as a result of the pandemic.

It is important to note that the changes to insolvency law currently before parliament only deal with wrongful trading – all other duties remain the same. So Directors must still ensure they are acting in the best interests of the company, its shareholders and creditors. In this context, the webinar discussed funding options for keeping a business solvent, and how to manage the process if this is not possible.

Ward Hadaway partner Emma Digby talked to fellow partner and insolvency specialist Jane Garvin and Kris Wigfield and Matthew Cluer from Begbies Traynor about these issues.

This webinar is the first of our Yorkshire “In conversations with…” where we explore with other experts how businesses can get on the front foot in #gettingbacktobusiness.

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