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Business Support and Advice – COVID-19

March 24, 2020

The impact of COVID-19 on both the domestic and international economies is already being felt by UK businesses and companies are naturally concerned not only about the short-term impact on their business, but also the medium to long term consequences of a COVID-19 pandemic.

RMT is here to assist and guide you through these challenging times. We have an in-house team assembled to assist, and we are happy to undertake a Business Financial Review for you. If you wish to take advantage of this then please do not hesitate to call your usual RMT contact.

Further to this we have included below some practical steps businesses can take in the short term that may help to alleviate some of the financial and operational pressures on their businesses during these uncertain times.

Forecasting – Short term cashflow forecasting will help provide companies with visibility of their cash requirements over the coming months and assist if seeking to raise (additional) finance from funders.

Reduce costsOpportunities to reduce costs will undoubtedly vary from business to business, but below are a few examples of common areas that can be considered.

  • Rent – speak to landlords regarding rent reductions or holidays.
  • Suppliers – proactively engage with suppliers regarding revised payment dates or repayment plans.
  • Financed assets – engage with finance companies regarding the return of equipment or repayment holidays.  Return rented / hired equipment that will not be used.
  • Insurance – speak to insurers regarding ability to reduce covers where business operations have reduced or been suspended.
  • Non-core – consider retainers with professional advisors and whether they continue to be necessary.  Marketing spend, trading and professional subscriptions can also be areas to consider.

Open dialogue – Have you kept customers updated on your ability to continue to provide services to them?  Have you spoken to key suppliers regarding your supply requirements over the coming weeks and months, or your ability to settle invoices as and when they fall due?

Banks and lenders – It is critical that you continue to communicate with lenders during this period of uncertainty to ensure that funding facilities remain in place. We would strongly advise businesses to discuss funding requirements with their existing lenders in the first instance. We would urge businesses to take RMT’s advice before any additional secured or unsecured debt is committed to, particularly where the provision of additional personal guarantees is required.

Government packages – The Government has announced significant measures that will help lenders support their customers during these uncertain times, including loans, grants, rates relief and, wage subsidies.  RMT is in close contact with the British Business Bank, the key lenders and local authorities, keeping abreast of the latest developments.

An up to date summary of the current measures announced by the Government can be found here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
Under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.

HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. HMRC are working urgently to set up a system for reimbursement. Existing systems are not set up to facilitate payments to employers.

HMRC
HMRC has announced that it has launched a helpline to support businesses affected by COVID-19.  Applicants are potentially able to agree instalment arrangements, suspend debt collection proceedings, and cancelling penalties and interest where businesses have not been able to contact or pay HMRC due to administrative difficulties.

If you have any concerns regarding your business, or are facing financial difficulties, please don’t hesitate to contact me or the following:

For business support advice please contact Chris Ferguson (Head of Recovery and Insolvency) chris.ferguson@r-m-t.co.uk

For funding support, including the new measures due to be introduced by the Government please contact Michael Cantwell (Head of Corporate Finance) michael.cantwell@r-m-t.co.uk

More information on business support around COVID-19  can be found on our website here: https://www.r-m-t.co.uk/covid-19-measures-for-uk-businesses/

More information on COVID-19 can be found on the Gov.uk wesbite.

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