The world we inhabit today looks very different to the one we inhabited just ten days ago.
The restrictions placed on those businesses which remain open are as draconian as they are unprecedented. Their imposition is one of absolute necessity in order to contain and limit the spread of Coronavirus enabling the Health Service to prepare for the predicted rise in virus related referrals in the coming days and weeks. We must all stay in our homes unless absolutely necessary.
Put simply, the UK is in lockdown in all but name.
The very language we find ourselves using reflects the gravity of the situation. In his broadcast to the nation the Prime Minister, leader of a War Cabinet, required every UK citizen to enlist in the fight against the virus, in a battle in which NHS staff and other care workers are in the front line. If there had been any doubt before, now there is no doubt. The country is at war against Coronavirus.
And yet life goes on. Business continues. With gatherings restricted to no more than two people, face to face meetings have all but become a thing of the past and seemingly overnight we have all become experts in Zoom, Teams and WhatsApp.
We live and do business in a connected world. Those connections may be virtual rather than physical but we still remain connected.
Every business is part of a supply chain. Every business has its own customers. Every business has its own employees. And every crisis has a beginning a middle and an end.
We are clearly in the early days of the current crisis. But if we stay connected, communicate with our staff, our customers and our suppliers we can establish a new pattern of working; one which may look very different to what we have been used to, but one which will enable us all to weather the current storm and see the crisis through to the end.
The Government has put in place further measures to help businesses survive these difficult times. In addition to those mentioned in our previous communication, the following steps have been taken:
- The introduction of furloughed employees
- Similar assistance for the self employed
- A 3 month extension for the filing of accounts
- Postponement of or online alternatives to AGMs
The relaxation of the wrongful trading offences under the Insolvency Act 1986 – although those relating to fraudulent trading will remain.
Furthermore, the Government has announced new provisions for businesses which are struggling because of the current crisis. These include:
- a moratorium for companies giving them breathing space for from creditors enforcing their debts for a period of time whilst they seek a rescue or restructure
- protection of their supplies to enable them to continue trading during the moratorium
- a new restructuring plan, binding creditors to that plan
It is clear that through the introduction of these measures the Government is offering a support package designed to see businesses through the current economic crisis and into more stable and hopefully prosperous times ahead.
The links to the Government’s survival remedies are set out at the end of this email.
These are undoubtedly the most challenging times any of us has lived through. If you wish to discuss what can be done to help you and your clients please do not hesitate to call us on any of the numbers below.
In the meantime stay safe and please accept our best wishes to you and your circle of colleagues friends and family.