Coronavirus Bill and loan scheme consequences for hospitality, leisure and gambling businesses

 

Further to last week’s announcements on 17 March and on 20 March by the Chancellor of the Exchequer of further financial support for businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis, the government announced yesterday (23 March 2020) details of:

You can download below more information in relation to both schemes.

The Second Reading of the Coronavirus Bill 2019-21 took place yesterday. When enacted (which is considered likely to be later this week), amongst other things it will:

  • allow UK and devolved ministers “to prohibit or otherwise restrict events or gatherings in England” and “to close premises in England or impose restrictions on persons entering or remaining inside them” for the purpose of (a) “preventing, protecting against, delaying or otherwise controlling the incidence or transmission of coronavirus” or (b) “facilitating the most appropriate deployment of medical or emergency personnel and resources” (as previously reported by us here);
  • allow employers to reclaim statutory sick pay funds from HMRC;
  • grant a moratorium on commercial landlord sanctions and debt enforcement for at least three months; and
  • permit local government meetings (including those at which licensing hearings may take place) to be conducted by videolink as virtual meetings.

UPDATES:

1. The Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25 March 2020, as we have reported here.

2. On 3 April 2020, (as set out within an HM Treasury news item published on that date that you can download below) the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed further action designed to support businesses affected by coronavirus by (a) bolstering business interruption loans and (b) announcing a new scheme for larger companies, the principal features of which are:

  • £90 million of business interruption loans approved for nearly 1,000 firms and £1.9 billion corporate finance provided to firms hit by COVID-19
  • current loan scheme extended so more small businesses can benefit
  • lenders banned from requesting personal guarantees on loans under £250,000
  • new scheme announced to bolster support for larger firms not currently eligible for loans
  • emphasis on the importance of banks moving quickly to support the economy, jobs and businesses

Commenting on this latest development, Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, has said:

We welcome the Chancellor’s statement today, bolstering credit lines to businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

The all-important detail on the support remains to be seen, but if done right it should help out those businesses in the ‘squeezed middle’. The majority of our membership falls into this bracket and so haven’t had access to the support that the Government intended.

It is a shame that the loans will be at commercial rates meaning successful businesses, through no fault of their own, will be forced to get into more debt due to this crisis. Nonetheless, it is imperative now that the banks take heed of this clear direction from Government and get the cash to businesses as fast as possible ensuring the great British pub industry survives this crisis and is in the best position to reopen in the future.

Download article PDF: Covid Corporate Financing Facility