NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

NEWS ROUNDUP

CORONA VIRUS GOVERNMENT SUPPORT – LATEST

EMPLOYERS – JOB RETENTION SCHEME

It is reported that HMRC will have the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) portal ready by the 20th April. This is earlier than the end of April date that they had originally advised. To remind you, this is the portal that you will use to access the reimbursed funds that you are paying to furloughed staff.

Note: you must have a PAYE online account in order to make a claim.  Therefore: –

  • If you complete your own payroll, make sure that you have an online PAYE registration with HMRC
  • If you use a third party for your payroll, you should contact them to ensure that they are dealing with your PAYE through an online account with HMRC.

It can take up to 10 days to set up an online account if you do not have one.

Contact us if you have any queries.

CORPORATE NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

Debenhams goes into administration

Debenhams has called in administrators from FRP Advisory as the 241-year-old department store chain tries to stay on life support until the coronavirus lockdown is over. Debenhams plans to try to re-open some UK stores after the crisis but its 11 stores in Ireland are to be liquidated. Stefaan Vansteenkiste, chief executive of Debenhams, said: “In these unprecedented circumstances the appointment of the administrators will protect our business, our employees, and other important stakeholders, so that we are in a position to resume trading from our stores when Government restrictions are lifted.”

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 3 The Times, Page: 42 The Independent, Page: 46 The Guardian, Page: 31 City AM The I, Page: 48 Daily Mirror, Page: 2

NMC Health falls into administration

Administrators from Alvarez & Marsal have taken over control of NMC Health after a High Court judge approved the appointment. NMC first came under fire from short seller Muddy Waters in December over its governance and finances and has since been forced to reveal £3.2bn in undisclosed debt. One of NMC’s major creditors, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, forced the administration after the company failed to meet its demands to shore up governance.

The Daily Telegraph Financial Times

REGULATION NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

FCA to include motor finance in rescue measures

The Financial Conduct Authority has confirmed that it will go ahead with measures consulted on last week that will help consumers with their debt. These will include temporary payment freezes on loans and credit cards for up to three months, and larger zero-interest overdrafts. The regulator’s interim chief executive, Christopher Woolard, said support would also be offered to motorists struggling with their car finance payments. The move comes after talks with the Finance and Leasing Association, whose members arrange £48bn of car financing deals a year.

The Daily Telegraph

SMEs NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

AAB urges greater coronavirus support for companies

Managing partner of Anderson Anderson & Brown (AAB), Lyn Calder, is urging the government to enact measures to help firms survive the economic damage resulting from coronavirus. She stated: “The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) will undoubtedly prove to be a lifeline for many businesses. However, depending on their financial status, all too many will not qualify under the current stipulations. For example, part of the eligibility criteria for access to CBILS requires lenders to assess whether a business is ‘viable’, which could well result in banks turning down loss-making businesses.” She also pointed out that employees who live and work in the UK but are employed by companies with no UK bank account are in a precarious position as such employers cannot claim furlough support for UK-based employees under current regulations.

Scottish Construction Now The Scotsman, Page: 32

Government ‘should help small company directors’ access funding

Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors, writes in the Telegraph on how small company directors can be helped to access the Government’s coronavirus business support measures more easily. He notes that many entrepreneurs “have found themselves unable to access the broader support measures for businesses. The Government’s coronavirus loan scheme has, despite good intentions from all involved, had a somewhat rocky start, and young, high-growth companies have found it particularly frustrating,” and urges an increase to reliefs available through enterprise investment schemes and venture capital trusts, as well as a cash injection for venture capital funds.

The Daily Telegraph

EMPLOYMENT NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

Business bridles at rollout of points-based immigration system

The UK government has released guidance for businesses on the new immigration points system, but trade bodies say with employers struggling to deal with the fallout from COVID-19 they are unlikely to have the capacity to plan for the changes. Tom Hadley, Director of Policy and Campaigns at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation said, “Now is not the right time to plough on with immigration reforms. The national effort needs to be focused on eliminating coronavirus, protecting jobs and getting the economy back on track.”

Financial Times Recruiter Staffing Industry Analysis

PROPERTY NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

Stamp duty holiday may not be enough to kickstart market

The Telegraph’s Russell Lynch looks at how a stamp duty cut could stimulate the property market, as well as the risks that the measure entails. “Agents and housebuilders have a vested interest in calling for temporary relief from a tax they detest,” writes Mr Lynch, but he then questions how useful this would actually be. He suggests that fewer people are paying stamp duty since former chancellor Philip Hammond scrapped the tax for first-time buyers on homes worth less than £300,000 in 2017, meaning the revenue generated may not make as big a difference as agents have suggested. Mr Lynch’s views are supported by Hansen Lu, a property economist with Capital Economics, who opposes the idea of a tax holiday. “It would be a big giveaway for people at the top of the market – it would be regressive,” he said.

The Daily Telegraph, Business, Page: 5

PENSIONS NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

TPR eases contribution rules

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has granted struggling companies more time to make staff pension contributions before enforcement action is taken against them. The period by which schemes must report payment failures has been extended from 90 days to 150 days. Cutting contributions for furloughed staff has also been made easier.

The Times, Page: 36

ECONOMY NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

UK economy already showing signs of trouble before coronavirus

Data from the ONS reveals that the UK economy was up just 0.1% in the three months before coronavirus restriction measures began to affect businesses. The ONS also found that just 40% of firms are confident their financial resources will allow them to continue operating through the coronavirus pandemic. EY warned that contraction of up to 5% could be seen in the UK for March, with an economic contraction of 1.3% for the first quarter increasing to a 13% contraction in the second quarter, accompanied by a 14% drop in consumer spending. EY’s chief economic adviser Howard Archer remarked: “There is no denying that there are substantial downside risks. [But] we believe the economy can start to recover in the third quarter and then see decent activity late on in 2020 and during 2021.”

The Daily Telegraph City AM

OTHER NEWS – FRIDAY 10TH APRIL 2020

Eurozone strikes emergency deal on coronavirus rescue

Eurozone finance ministers have agreed a €500bn package of measures to support economies crippled by the impact of the coronavirus. However, they failed to agree on how to pay for the longer-term economic reconstruction effort that will follow the crisis. Under the deal, member states will be able to receive credit lines from the European Stability Mechanism amounting to at least 2% of a country’s economic output. A row over shared debt obligations continues to simmer with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte warning that if the Germans and Dutch don’t shift their position “Europe will be dead”.

Financial Times Wall Street Journal Reuters The Times

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