What type of agreements are we talking about?
To respond to the crisis businesses might need to exchange information to a greater extent than they would usually. They might need to discuss capacity and to coordinate supply chains (both upstream and downstream). They might need to purchase or sell jointly to ensure vital supplies are maintained. In general agreements or collaboration which:
- Avoid a shortage, or ensure security, of supply
- Ensure a fair distribution of scarce products
- Continue essential services
- Provide new services such as food delivery to vulnerable consumers
According to the guidelines laid down by the Treasury, many Start-up businesses will not be considered “viable” as they are at an early stage in the investment cycle (i.e. delivering negative returns but with strong growth prospects). This means they are unlikely to qualify for CBILS although for primarily UK based Start-ups it is still worth making enquiries as policies are rapidly evolving.
For early-stage businesses in their first two years of trading, the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans programme (loans £500 to £25,000 at 6% p.a. interest) may be more suitable. Visit www.startuploans.co.uk for more information.
For start-up businesses that are unable to access CBILS, the Government launched The Future Fund in May 2020 via the British Business Bank, which provides convertible loans to UK-based innovative companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. This scheme is available until 30 September 2020 initially.
Your business is eligible if:
- it is UK-incorporated – if your business is part of a corporate group, only the parent company is eligible
- it has raised at least £250,000 in equity investment from third-party investors in the last five years
- none of its shares are traded on a regulated market, multilateral trading facility or other listing venue
- it was incorporated on or before 31 December 2019, and
- at least one of the following is true: (i) half or more employees are UK-based; and/or (ii) half or more revenues are from UK sales.
Further information is available on the Government website, www.gov.uk/guidance/future-fund
The Government is also offering additional support for small and medium size firms that are primarily focused on research and development. This targeted support is available through a continuity grant and loan scheme. The grant scheme is only available until 29 May 2020 while the loan scheme is open for applications until all the money is allocated or 31 December 2020 (whichever is earlier). This scheme is administered by Innovate UK, the national innovation agency, and this support will mostly only be available to existing Innovate UK customers.
Further information is available on the on the Government website, www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-coronovirus-business-innovation-support-package
Where a couple is not married, they have limited rights in relation to each other’s assets and these mainly relate to rights over property assets. There is complex Trust law which governs whether or not your partner could claim an interest in your property and it generally relates to where someone has invested in renovations on the property or promises have been made. If this is something you are concerned about, you and your partner could enter in to a Cohabitation Agreement. These Agreements can set out various matters, including who will pay the bills and where each of you would live if you separated. Most importantly, they can record your intentions about who owns the property and exclude any rights your partner would have against your property.
The Government announced on 22 June 2020 that it would be making provisions to enable planning permissions that have lapsed since 23 March 2020, and those that are due to lapse before the end of 2020, to be automatically extended.
The Government’s detailed proposals are set out in section 17 of the Business and Planning Act 2020, which entered the statute books on 22 July 2020. If a relevant planning permission is subject to a condition which requires the development to be begun no later than between 19 August 2020 (when section 17 of the Business and Planning Act 2020 will come into effect) and 31 December 2020, the condition is automatically deemed to instead provide that the development must be begun no later than 1 May 2021.
The Act also makes provision for any conditions requiring development to be begun between 23 March 2020 and 19 August 20202 to be extended to 1 May 2021, although this is not automatic. Where the provisions have such retrospective effect, an application is required to the local planning authority. The local planning authority are only able to grant approval, however, if they are satisfied that any EIA and habitats assessments continue to be valid. Deemed approval provisions will apply if the local planning authority do not determine any application within 28 days. The local planning authority are not able to approve such applications after 31 December 2020 so applications should be made in good time in advance of this date. There is the possibility of an appeal against the local planning authority’s decision but notice of the appeal must be submitted before 31 December 2020.
The Act includes similar provisions in relation to both detailed and outline planning permissions.
It is possible to review working arrangements for contractors before the new rules come into effect. This will require immediate action.
You could consider terminating current contracts and entering into new terms that reflect working arrangements for a self-employment arrangement.
Another possibility is encouraging contractors to abandon the PSC model and provide services under a compliant umbrella company.
In the event of a determination of employed status you should seek to enter new terms that at the very least reflect the new tax arrangements .
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.