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COVID-19 Update (26 March 2020)

Can we first of all say a massive thanks for all of the positive comments that have been shared with the firm and the team regarding the support we have provided so far and the support we have discussed that is still to come.  We will continue to work effortlessly to support you in these troubled times.

Two things first which we are commonly being asked and for which we can just give up an update (kind of):

  • We are still awaiting further guidance regarding the 80% funding towards furloughed staff and are hoping we get this imminently and as soon as we do we will share this rather than just share the various interpretations that are currently circulating over the internet.
  • There is expected to be a big announcement today for which we will share tomorrow once we have interpreted this with regards to the self employed but we know no more than you do at the current time.

Now what we can update you on today is the banks apparent stance when it comes to the Government-backed lending and that is what we wanted to share.

The key messages are:

  • Certain backs will force you to first apply for normal commercial funding and only if this is unsuccessful will they signpost you down the Government-backed route.
  • We do know of at least one bank; which is Barclays, who as of yesterday were first sending people down the Government-backed route.
  • From having spoken with a number of senior guys within the banks; we’re told banks are currently being allowed to decide their own approach with regards to the approach they take.
  • If you are going to try and suddenly jump ship in terms of banks to try and increase your chances of accessing the Government-backed loans then good luck as this transition process appears to be more lengthy than ever and in the meantime banks will naturally and understandably prioritise their own customers ahead of others.
  • Following the global issues that COVID-19 it is causing the banks;who are already massively under-resourced as we would expect, to be even more stretched, and the fact that call centres in India have been closed down due to the service not being deemed ‘essential’ across there will only slow down the application process further.

Our recommendation to clients is contact your bank the best you can and try to establish what information is needed.  Also, try to understand which approach they will be adopting.  Then fill in this short questionnaire that can be found here and liaise with us so that we can best support you should your first option not come through.

Alongside the rush to get this Government-backed funding from the banks and the soon to be announced measures to support the self-employed, we are soon expecting a deluge of requests for information from clients.

As mentioned above, and ask acknowledged by clients already, we face the same battles as a lot of clients and continue to go over and beyond existing letters of engagement for no additional charge.

However, can we kindly ask that if you are being asked for information that you already have/have had access to can you please ensure that you have this ready rather than ask us to supply this again.

We haven’t yet; but if we are regularly asked for information already supplied and repeating work, then this will only stretch us further and side tracks our efforts where they would be better spent that could subsequently be to the detriment of the long-term future of other clients including yourself. 

If this is ever the case we would have to consider revisiting how we are supporting clients including potentially charging for work that we repeating as we will not stand by and allow this to happen.

Let’s continue to work together in the best interests of one another.

We thank you for you your patience, support and kind words to date and we look forward to this time passing.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

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COVID-19 Update (19 March 2020)

As of today we thought we would provide you with the latest Government update but please note there is a scheduled further update planned for tomorrow and we continue to await further detail behind some of those proposals outlined below:

The Chancellor has set out a package of temporary, timely and targeted measures to support public services, people and businesses through this period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

This includes a package of measures to support businesses including:

  • a Statutory Sick Pay relief package for SMEs
  • a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
    small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
  • grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
  • the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
  • a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
  • the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

I’m a sole trader or have employees that are struggling so what options are available to me?

HMRC have a dedicated page in respect of this there now where you may be entitled to the Universal credit. For more information click here.

Client’s who have already benefited from above

We have already had a client call the HMRC helpline number and be offered the opportunity to postpone the payment of their VAT liability for three months; even though they acknowledged that they could pay this but wanted to be cautious. They were also advised that over and beyond this postponement they could thereafter agree a 12 to 24 month interest-free payment plan; depending on the size of the liability.

A client of a client has been able to access £60k extremely quickly from their bank without any fees or charges and been given an initial 6 month interest-free window. This same loan was even 80% backed by the Government. Naturally some banks are moving faster than others but this is consistent with the assistance we are told should be forthcoming from mainstream banks.

Please be warned that this advice is changing daily but take above as an indication of wheels slowly getting in motion.