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Coronavirus/COVID-19: Update 3 April 2020

Another ‘stay at home’ working week is done.  The vast majority of our team are working remotely, supporting clients as always.  We may be living in uncertain times but everyone at GWA is determined to ensure it is business as usual and we continue to provide the guidance and assistance you need.

Please do feel free to call or email us via your normal contact details.  We may not have a ‘magic wand’ to answer every question immediately, but sometimes simply chatting through your situation and the difficulties you are facing can help to gain some perspective and allow you to “keep calm and carry on”.

There have been only a few minor changes announced since yesterday. Here are the latest updates.

FCA Consultation on Loan and Credit Card Payment Freeze

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is undertaking an emergency four-day consultation in respect of plans for temporary measures to help consumers manage their credit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposals include:

  • a three-month repayment freeze on loans
  • a temporary freeze on credit card and store card debt up to three months
  • no interest charged for three months on up to £500 for customers affected by coronavirus using an arranged overdraft.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Following criticism of the CBILS, the government has announced changes to the scheme which should make it easier for firms to access loans.

When initially introduced, a CBILS loan would only be available to firms that had explored all other sources of lending and had been turned down for a ‘regular’ commercial loan from their bank.  This restriction has now been relaxed.  In addition, banks will also be prevented from asking company owners to guarantee loans of up to £250,000 with their own savings or assets.

However, these are still loans. Should you consider this option, you as the business borrower will always remain 100% liable for the debt.

More information can be found on the British Business Bank website.

80% Furlough Scheme Extended to Public Sector Contractors

It has been confirmed that IR35 contractors that work for public sector organisations will now be eligible for the 80% furlough scheme.

This should enable doctors and nurses who may be working as locums across the NHS along with other contractors to access financial support.  It applies to any off-payroll workers who are in the middle of an ongoing contract.  The only exception is where contractors are being let go due to their assignment coming to a natural end ie. the contract was due to finish regardless of Covid-19.

Business Insolvency Changes

Changes are being made to the UK insolvency regime to assist businesses avoid having to file for bankruptcy if they are unable to meet their debts due to the impact of COVID-19.

These include a temporary suspension of the rules that usually make it an offence for a company director to continue to trade if they know their business is unable to avoid liquidation. This will allow directors to continue to pay staff and suppliers in order to keep the business going without being personally liable.

Any business that are undergoing a rescue or restructuring process will also be protected from creditors putting them into administration and will be able to continue buying essential supplies, such as energy, raw materials or broadband.

The changes are backdated to 1 March 2020.

We know there still many challenges to come and we encourage you to contact us if you need support. We cannot emphasise enough that we are here to help.
Enjoy your weekend and keep safe.

Information correct as of 3 April 2020

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