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Where can I find more Companies House guidance?

Companies House guidance on the impact of coronavirus on their services can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-guidance-for-companies-house-customers-employees-and-suppliers

This flexibility offered by Companies House could be a useful short-term help to businesses that are struggling to deal with the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, but be sure to take action in advance of your filing deadline.

Related FAQs

What are some other factors?

No one factor will determine status and the outcomes will differ depending on the nature of the work being carried out and the business of the end user client.

When you have carried out an assessment based on the relevant factors you can either get in touch with us to discuss further, check your answers against HMRC’s CEST tool or do both before making a final determination.

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.

How are the Courts applying the new guidance?

Overall it is our experience that the Courts are quickly adapting in the context of the Coronavirus epidemic and making pragmatic decisions. The Judges seem live to the difficulties currently been faced by practitioners dealing with litigation and they are applying the new guidance.

The Courts are also mindful of pressures on NHS frontline staff and are taking steps not to put additional pressures on them at this time, including in our experience vacating an imminent Trial.

Who is responsible for planning in the event of an excess of deaths?

In the unfortunate event that there will be a significant number of deaths, planning will fall to the local resilience forum; which includes all relevant local organisations and statutory bodies, who will have prior experience in working in excessive death scenarios.

It is for the coroners to ensure that they are familiar with the local resilience forum plans and discussions required. This will include issues regarding storage capacity and post-mortem examination capacity.

What is my legal position if emergency legislation to tackle the outbreak makes performance of a contract illegal or impossible?

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to develop, we have seen many countries begin to implement emergency procedures and legislation in an attempt to control the spread of the disease.

These have included bans on gatherings and public events, closures of shops, bars, restaurants and public spaces, and full lockdowns which restrict all but key workers to their homes except in certain limited circumstances.

This has a direct impact on businesses and their ability to operate. So what happens if a contract becomes impossible to perform because of emergency legislation?

For example:

  • If you are a hospitality business, you have agreed to host an event, and gatherings are prohibited
  • If you are a manufacturer or service provider, and your staff are required to remain at home, making performance of the contract impossible