Whilst much of the news focus relating to the Coronavirus has been around the effect the disease has been having on individuals, in terms of the infection and death rates, restrictions on movement and the changes in personal behaviour around shopping, etc, it is clear that the effects of the Coronavirus are also touching the lives of individuals as a consequence of the economic effects. We have seen stock market behaviour which is supposed to occur only once in a generation now happening for the second time in 12 years. Interest rates in the UK have been cut to record lows and the government has announced support packages for workers which are unparalleled outside of times of war.
As is the case with any crisis, certain industry sectors have fared better than others. Those involved in the retail food supply chain and distribution have never been busier, whereas those in hospitality, passenger transport and bricks and mortar retail have been extremely hard hit.
Much of the focus has been on larger companies, such as airlines and chain stores, but they have teams of people to help them wade through the process of applying for emergency loans, filling out rates deferral forms and contacting HMRC. Those who operate smaller businesses need more of a steer to reach the right landing, so we have put together some helpful guidance for the SME sector.
Some of the government assistance is also not reaching the front line as quickly as may be necessary and this has increased the pressure on some badly hit businesses, pushing them towards the possibility of formal insolvency. Our highly rated and experienced corporate insolvency and restructuring team are available to talk to you about your options and how you can take a pragmatic approach to dealing with suppliers, landlords, lenders and others where you are struggling with making all payments which might be falling due at any given time. In many cases seeking to restructure and reach a commercial consensual deal will be in the best interests of all parties, rather than formal insolvency. We will also be able to advise you on what duties you owe as directors of a company in potential difficulty and what may have changed in that regard as a result of the Coronavirus epidemic.
The Government has put banks very much in the spotlight in terms of getting support out and into the business community. They of course have their own issues to contend with, in terms of staff availability and the constraints of home working. We have connections with all of the High Street clearing banks and most of the Challenger banks. If you think we can help you in any respect then do please get in touch.