​Update: Practical financial business advice amid COVID-19 crisis

24 March 2020


Darren Toombs, a partner at Carson McDowell has prepared an update on practical financial business advice amid COVID-19.

To follow up from our last note there have been significant announcements from Government, with the chancellor having announced unprecedented pay guarantees for employees.

Today, to assist local business, Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce has issued a Key Points Sheet following on from the most recent Government announcements.

The Key Points read as follows:

  • The government has confirmed that it will provide lenders with a guarantee of 80% on each loan (subject to a per-lender cap on claims) to give lenders further confidence in continuing to provide finance to SMEs.
  • Available to UK-based businesses with annual turnover of up to £45m per year.
  • All 40+ accredited lenders will be ready to provide CBILS today.
  • New: There will be an expedited process for overdrafts - no fees or interest 12 months. 6/7 lenders will be available to provide this from today.
  • Eligibility criteria widened – aim to not turn down otherwise viable businesses which have been hit by the Coronavirus.
  • They are moving away from EU State aid de minimis. ‘Membership’ organisations can now use CBILS, some other sectors restrictions have also been dropped. Awaiting more detail.
  • No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme.
  • At the discretion of the lender, the scheme may be used for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under.
  • Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years.

The Secretary of State’s office has provided helpful COVID-19 guidance and information for businesses and employers in Northern Ireland: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/covid-19-guidance-information-for-ni-businesses-employers

Whether you are a business in need of advice in financially constrained circumstances, a company Director with a difficult financial decision to make, or simply wondering what your rights are with regards to seeking forbearance on a business or personal loan, please do not hesitate to contact Darren or his team here at Carson McDowell for advice.

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice that is tailored to your circumstances.