After waiting in anticipation for more information on the previously announced schemes, unfortunately we will be waiting a bit longer as information has not been forthcoming.
There was, however, confirmation during Prime Minister’s questions today that an announcement on support for self-employed workers would be announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in tomorrow’s evening briefing, and I know a number of our clients had an interest in being kept in the loop regarding this.
Further details we do have are as follows:
Protection from eviction for commercial tenants
More information on this was released. Commercial tenants who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 will be protected from eviction. This rent will still be due, and is not a rental holiday, but no business will automatically forfeit their lease if they miss a payment between now and 30th June 2020. This will come in to force when the Coronavirus Bill receives Royal assent, which is expected to be before the end of the month and no action is required by the tenant or landlord.
Most commercial insurance policies are unlikely to cover pandemics or unspecified notifiable diseases, such as COVID-19. However, those businesses which have an insurance policy that covers government ordered closure and pandemics or government ordered closure and unspecified notifiable disease should be able to make a claim (subject to the terms and conditions of their policy). Insurance policies differ significantly, so businesses are encouraged to check the terms and conditions of their specific policy and contact their providers.
COVID-19 has now been added to the government list of notifiable diseases, so it may be worth businesses checking their policies for any reference to cover for ‘unspecified notifiable diseases’, although there may be some caveats on this. In addition, if any business on the list included on the below link has cover for government ordered closure, they may have grounds for an insurance claim.
It is unlikely a businesses would be covered for something like this as a standard part of their policy, many of the publications mentioning this state that this would usually be requested by the company, but it is definitely worth spending some time checking your insurance documents.
Any of the rates based grants can be expected to be rolled out from early April, as Local Authorities will receive the money for this from central government on or before 1st April 2020.
We are still waiting for further details on the Employee Retention Scheme, which seems to be the most important one for your clients, and as soon as we have more information we will pass this on.
Opinion – Banks are letting us down
I feel we are being let down by our banks, once again, who are asking for security before offering the Government Backed Loan Scheme – this is the way EFG worked but, in my opinion, it shouldn’t be this way. Any business should be able to apply for funding without having to offer personal guarantees – these are exceptional circumstances and we need an exceptional response from the banks. This is not happening at the moment I have sent messages to both Rishi and Boris let’s see if they reply 😊
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