30 Mar 2020
Unprecedented Times: Coronavirus – Insolvency helpline
As an Insolvency Practitioner, I didn’t ever expect to be classed as a “key worker” in these unprecedented times (or ever!) but I hear from our professional body that this is what we are! It would be arrogant in the extreme to compare our profession to those who are really (quite literally) putting their lives at risk but we do have a role to play in helping small businesses affected by the stark new trading environment, minimise the damage and give them some hope for the future.
There is much that is good to be found in the measures already introduced by the Government to help those businesses and the latest package now announced by the Chancellor for the self-employed (albeit delayed until June) will help ease the considerable concern of the many millions caught in that lacuna.
Much has been written already about what help is available and my own firm has that information available in the usual way: Covid-19 Hub.
I have heard anecdotally that some banks are being very supportive with readily available overdraft increases, capital repayment holidays etc but it remains to be seen whether the loan guarantee scheme will be so freely accessible without further security or personal guarantees – we shall see.
Our profession right now should be doing all we can to guide struggling small businesses through this “once in a lifetime” crisis and we will be judged accordingly.
When this crisis has ended, many businesses will be considerably weakened, especially those already struggling before COVID-19, so we see the need for our services increasing. The temporary relaxation of the insolvency rules on Wrongful Trading and enforcement generally will provide a breathing space for businesses under extreme pressure but it is still an area that is full of pitfalls for the unwary.
At Monahans we are offering initial support and guidance free of charge, in the hope that we can help otherwise profitable businesses survive.