Daily update from UK Business Mentoring 23/03/20

23rd March 2020, 9:44 am

A few points of interest from the Government’s existing and additional measures announced at the end of last week:

‘Furloughed Workers’

Here is a new expression we are going to hear a lot about. The Government will pay 80% of an employee’s wages (up to £2500 per staff member) per month (businesses can pay the remaining 20% or not) but to qualify they have to be someone not working due to the effect of Coronavirus on the business. Interestingly in the employee section it states:

‘To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them (your employer)  while you are furloughed’

Quite how the Government will monitor this is beyond me – surely if the employer needs help with ‘stuff’ it is for the good of all that these staff are given some duties to help businesses survive through this period. I also think staff would want to be doing some work to feel they are helping and to keep them busy.

I leave you to put your own interpretation on this clause. My personal opinion is some discussion with staff is needed here, I think staff will just be happy they are being paid and will be happy to help out.


You will see from the attached VAT is automatically deferred.

RE PAYE – one of our clients phoned HMRC to get circa £30k+ of PAYE deferred yesterday – it took him one hour and forty minutes to get through but 40 seconds to get agreement to deferring the tax. He was simply asked, company details, asked if his business had been hit by Coronavirus, answered yes and was given an automatic three-month deferment with no interest and no fees.

My advice is, even if you have the cash available do not pay any tax at the present time, we do not know how long this situation will continue and it is cash that will give you the ability to survive right now. Also ,much better to work with and help out your suppliers at this time, remember you will need their help when we come through this.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme

As previously mentioned, this is the existing ‘Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme’ (EFG). The government states it is available from Monday, but my bank contacts tell me they have not received any update and at the present time will be dealing with applications in the same way as the EFG scheme. I have asked for them to update me with what guidance they receive Monday.

The biggest drawback to the scheme at present (beyond it taking six weeks plus from application to drawdown) is this clause:

  • ‘Be unable to meet a lender’s normal lending requirements for a fully commercial loan or other facility, but would be considered viable in the longer-term’

This normally includes the expectation that directors would pledge (give as security) any personal assets (including their home) to the bank to support conventional bank facilities. There are some exceptions/ways around this, and I would be happy to discuss them with anyone who needs my help here.

Offers of support

I have been approached a few times by my contacts over the last few days to offer free services for remote working/mental wellbeing and other area’s-thank you and I will be starting to profile these early next week. Please feel free to contact me if you want to add to the list of services-this is a time when we can be collectively very strong.

Personal expenditure

Most gyms have already contacted customers re freezing membership automatically, Sky Sports are allowing online (takes 30 seconds) to freeze and you still are able to watch, BT sports are allowing freezing as well but you need to call and it takes 45-60mins (hopefully will change with online offering). The process for the 3 month mortgage relief seems simple-just call you provider and will walk through the next steps. Below is the Martin Lewis link that outlines each Bank’s position for mortgages and loans and lots of other really useful information.


And finally, for now

Ironically when written in Chinese, the word crisis is composed of two characters – one represents danger, the other represents opportunity – what opportunities could this open up for you?

Lastly, no fancy leadership quotes but a fact. In times of crisis people look to their leaders for guidance and support, as leaders none of us are perfect but that doesn’t matter, recognise your imperfections, accept them and be a role model for your teams.

I am conscious that many of you may be having conversation with staff early this week about working from home etc if you haven’t already. For everyone this is a worrying time, lots of uncertainty as we step into uncharted territories and undoubtedly, we all will have to learn to adapt. The more help we can give our people on how to cope financially, mentally etc will be invaluable.

We have put together a series of links to information that may be helpful to yourself and your staff:

ACAS Guide to working from home


Working from home with children


The Money Advice Service Guide to what benefits are available for individuals


The Money Saving Expert (Martin Lewis) Guide to help with mortgages, loans, credit cards etc


Government Guide re Covid – 19


Government Guide to self-isolation


Government general Guide to Covid – 19


Government stay at home guidance diagram


Support for Businesses

In terms of support for business here once again is the Government page on overall support available. Information is still awaited on how the Staff ‘Furloughing’ scheme will work in practice and whether there is any further information on the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. We will hopefully get more information from our bank contacts tomorrow.




Paul Clarke, UK Business Mentoring Group – [email protected]

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