COVID-19 SUPPORT: Daily Update – Friday 24 April 2020

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New Measures to protect UK high street from aggressive rent collection and closure.

Key Contact: Christian Farrow

Author: Elena Visser

The government has announced new measures to safeguard the UK high street against aggressive debt recovery actions.

Statutory demands and winding up petitions issued to commercial tenants are to be temporarily voided and changes made to the use of Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery (CRAR), building on measures already introduced in the Coronavirus Act. The government is going to implement secondary legislation to prevent landlords using CRAR unless they are owed 90 days of unpaid rent.

Concerns had been raised about landlords putting tenants under pressure by using aggressive debt recovery tactics, and new measures are to be introduced to ensure that companies do not fall into deeper financial strain. The measures are to be included in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill which the Business Secretary Alok Sharma set out earlier this month.

The introduction of the new measures aim to help safeguard the high street, as well as jobs, by helping protect them from permanent closure during this time. Despite the measures, the government has asked tenants to pay rent where they can afford it or what they can in recognition of the strains felt by commercial landlords too.

Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, said that during the period of significant disruption they are doing everything they can to ensure that commercial tenants are as well placed as possible to get back to business from the pandemic. He also said however that they understand that landlords are facing their own very serious pressures and are concerned about their position with lenders so they are working with banks and investors to seek ways to address these issues and guide the sector during the pandemic.

Yesterday’s announcement can be found here.

HM Treasury announces revision to the UK Debt Management Office’s financing remit 2020-2021

The Treasury has provided an update in relation to its revision to the UK Debt Management Office’s (DMO’s) gilt issuance plans for April 2020.

The DMO has published details of the revised planned gilt issuance schedule for May to July 2020 on its website. Planned gilt sales will now total £180 billion over the three-month period based on the government’s assessment of its financing requirements.

The temporary and immediate nature of the unprecedented support announced for people and businesses means the government expects that a significantly higher proportion of total gilt sales in 2020-2021 will take place in the first four months of the financial year, in order to meet the immediate financing needs resulting from the pandemic.

A further update to the DMO’s remit and planned issuance schedule for 2020-2021 will be announced on Monday 29th June.

The full publication setting out the revision to the financing remit, as well as the proposed gilt auction calendar for May to July 2020 can be found here.

£36 million has been awarded so far to 585 business across Wales under the Economic Resilience Fund

585 businesses in Wales have been awarded £36 million by the Development Bank of Wales since the Economic Resilience Fund was launched on 30 March.

More than 1,600 applications were received in the first week after the launch of the scheme on 30th March with funds reaching applications by Friday 3rd April.

The Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales, Ken Skates said that the staff of the Development Bank of Wales have been working tirelessly, processing three times the number of applications for support usually received in a year.

Details of the support available for businesses in Wales can be found here.

Please see our daily updated Financial Support Guide for Businesses for further information-  COVID-19 FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES

For more information on any of the points raised, please contact our corporate team.

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