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Coronavirus – Issue for business 3

As governments around the world continue to adopt new political and economic measures to deal with the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, people and businesses are having to adjust on an almost daily basis.

Our team of lawyers interpret the effect of those measures to individuals and businesses and where possible, suggest solutions to mitigate their impact.

In this edition, we cover:
some practical considerations for commercial landlords and tenants who are under immense pressure in these challenging times
the latest guidance on insolvency for company directors
key challenges in implementing the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)
furlough leave – what are the implications for employers?
some key tax measures and proposals implemented by the government in response to the pandemic and how they might help your business
guidance issued by IPO offices across the world on their continued operations during the pandemic

Covid-19: Practical considerations for commercial landlords and tenants

Following the recent publication of the Coronavirus Bill, there have been significant changes for landlords and tenants alike. Both businesses and individuals struggling with cash flow do not immediately have to pay their rent, although they are still liable and in the event of not paying are simply creating debt to be paid off later.

The real estate team examines the impact of the Bill, which is likely to cause shockwaves in the rental market both before and after the relevant period. Read more

Covid-19: Guidance on insolvency for company directors

The Business Secretary, Alok Sharma, has confirmed that wrongful trading measures under the Insolvency Act will be suspended for three months, in light of the coronavirus crisis. This announcement was welcomed by company directors, and follows the Chancellor’s commitment to do “whatever it takes” to save UK businesses.

Prior to this announcement, company directors were left with a difficult choice under the Insolvency Act: to accept the government’s help and continue trading, or to risk personal liability should the company subsequently collapse. Read more

The challenges of implementing the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS)

Interest in CBILS has been high ever since it was announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. In theory, this readily available loan should be accessible to all businesses who need support.

In practice, the scheme has experienced several pitfalls of its own making: businesses must be viable, but the decision as to whether a business is deemed viable or not has been left to the discretion of the banks – and many banks are choosing to lend on commercial terms even if a business is viable, leaving a small window of opportunity to qualify for the scheme for businesses who are still deemed viable, but not viable enough to be lent to on commercial terms. Read more

Furlough leave: answers to (some of) the difficult questions

Following the Government’s commitment to paying 80% of a worker’s wages should a company decide to furlough a worker instead of letting them go, there has been confusion as to what the rights of those individuals on furlough leave are.

Similarly, businesses are in a difficult position – those that are short on cash flow now will struggle to be able to pay 80% of a worker’s wages until they can claim the money back from HMRC, which will only start paying out by the end of April. Read more

Covid-19 tax assistance: emergency support in response to the pandemic

Rishi Sunak announced his first Budget with a range of tax measures to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Since then, further tax initiatives have been put in place to help both businesses and individuals as the crisis continues.

Our tax specialists summarise and explain the key measures including the Job Retention Scheme, the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, and deferrals in both VAT and income tax payments. Read more

Intellectual property – Covid-19 IPO update

In light of the struggles many businesses are facing due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, IP offices around the world have issued their own guidance and are providing greater flexibility.

In this update, our intellectual property team explains the key changes that the UKIPO, EUIPO and WIPO have made to filing deadlines, as it continues to work towards existing schedules. Read more