More measures to assist businesses
Sentient Group Ltd
Info Update 2020/23                                                       Issue Date: 28/04/2020
Covid-19 More Measures to Assist Businesses
In our effort to keep you up to date with all things Covid 19 and whilst not HR or H&S specific a couple of items have caught our eye.

Small business loans – The Bounce Back Scheme. (Can you tell Boris is back?)
On Monday The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the launch of a new Bounce Back Loans scheme. Designed to help smaller businesses that appeared to have fallen through the cracks and were ineligible for most of the support measures that had previously been announced.

The key features of this would appear to be –
  • Businesses can look to borrow up to 25% of their turnover.
  • The loans will ranging between lower and upper limits of £2,000 and £50,000
  • Access to the cash is hoped to be made available within 24 hours of approval.
  • The loans will have a 100% government guarantee.
  • The government will pay the interest on these loans for the first 12 months
  • No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The Chancellor said that banks will not need to perform any forward-looking test of business viability or other complex eligibility criteria and that businesses will be able to apply for a loan online using a short and simple form. The new scheme will open for applications at 9am next Monday, 4 May, and firms will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

Rent related protection
In another interesting development designed to assist High street shops and other companies during these difficult times the Government are to introduce temporary new measures to safeguard companies against aggressive debt recovery actions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Whilst most landlords are acting reasonably some have been putting tenants under undue pressure and in a bid to stop these unfair practices, the government will temporarily ban the use of statutory demands (made between 1 March 2020 and 30 June 2020) and winding up petitions presented from Monday 27 April, through to 30 June, where a company cannot pay its bills due to coronavirus. This will help ensure these companies do not fall into deeper financial strain. The measures will be included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill.

Government is also laying secondary legislation to provide tenants with more breathing space to pay rent by preventing landlords using Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR) unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.

As always – stay tuned for further information on these and other related matters in due course. 
The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of the law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.
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