Business Secretary Alok Sharma has announced some further measures to support businesses in the wake of the Coronavirus impact:
- The government will change elements of the insolvency system to help UK companies keep trading during the crisis. Legislation will be introduced as soon as possible to allow UK companies to “weather the storm” of the virus. There will be a temporary suspension of wrongful trading provisions for company directors to remove the threat of personal liability for continuing to trade during the pandemic.
- Companies required to hold annual general meetings during this time will also get help to comply with government rules about social distancing. AGMs will be able to be postponed, held online, or with proxy voting by telephone.
- Workers can defer workers can defer their annual leave for two years, to prevent them losing out by not being able to take leave at this time and potentially losing their entitlement due to normal carry over rules.
By way of an update on the support they are providing, the Secretary confirmed that banks are already processing thousands of applications for Business Interruption loans designed to help businesses with an annual turnover below £45m, and he said local authorities have started to receive funds in order to distribute the business support grants to small and medium sized businesses.