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Macdonald Henderson is here to assist you as required through this difficult time.

In this note, we will provide some useful guidance to support you.

As you are aware the spread of COVID-19 has created an unprecedented situation.

Health and wellbeing will always be the most important thing, but as a business owner, you will be faced with many tough decisions over the next few weeks.

It is certain that the economy will be adversely affected by the spread of the virus and this will undoubtedly have an impact on your business sector. Now is the time to plan for contingencies to see you through the next few weeks.

Macdonald Henderson can help you mitigate any impact. Please read on as we've compiled a list of helpful business information for you, starting with cash flow.

Cash flow is always important and will now become critical. Though it is certain the spread of the virus will continue to grow, it is less certain how long it will continue to have an impact on your business. So now is the time to analyse your income and expenditure to gauge the impact on your business.

For example, what would the impact be if you lost 50% of your sales? What savings can you make to reduce the impact of the downturn in revenue? Will you have the cash reserves to see you through the period of downturn, and if not, where will you go to get funding?

As the business owner, you will know your business inside out, but here are some examples of the things you may need to consider.

1) HMRC

If you have Corporation Tax, Personal Tax, VAT and PAYE liabilities, then you could approach HMRC to delay payments for them – they may be willing to negotiate a payment plan.

2) Suppliers

You may wish to approach your suppliers to extend credit terms.

3) Customers

Can you approach customers if you currently have credit terms, can you ask them to pay quicker?

4) Loans/ Bank overdrafts

If you currently have outstanding loans, would you be able to negotiate a payment holiday? Do you have an overdraft facility with your bank, and can you increase it in the short term?

Please remember, for the 4 points detailed above, you must ensure that you have an agreement with the relevant parties that you are planning to defer payment.

In the case of customers, propose more favourable terms. Be aware that if you do not negotiate an agreement, it could result in a breach of contract.

Your staff

The closest business relationship you have is with your staff. But hard decisions will have to be made if you are looking at a downturn in revenue. You may have to consider a reduction in staff pay to see you through the coming weeks.

The impact will depend on what you consider will be the revenue reduction. You may even have to ask staff to reduce their hours in line with the revenue reduction.

If the outlook becomes bleaker, redundancies may have to be considered. But remember, you will have to factor in redundancy payments.

Where can I find further help?

Both the UK and Scottish Governments have published a set of measures to help a business through the inevitable downturn.

The Scottish Government set up a dedicated advice helpline – 0300 303 0660 and introduced a set of supportive measures:

a. 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of under £69,000 - from 1st April 2020

b. A fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 for businesses in industries suffering from the worst effects of the virus

c. Rates relief on all properties of 1.6% - from 1st April 2020

d. Rates relief of up to £5,000 for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1st April 2020

e. The Scottish Government has also set up a hardship fund - £30m – to help those either self - employed or who have lost their job.

The UK Government has also announced measures to alleviate the effects of COVID-19

• Statutory Sick Pay paid to staff as a result of the virus will be refunded by the Government

• Loans of up to £1.2m will be under-written up to 80% by the Government

Here are a couple of Government web sites that are well worth a look. Simply click on the links below:

Government Support for Employees and Benefit Claimants

Coronavirus Guidance for employees and employers
Government guidance to employers and businesses
Another recommendation is to use social media as a source of information from both Governments.

Please remember keeping an open dialogue with suppliers, customers, staff and HMRC is key to building positive working relationships and managing your business through difficult times.

Commercial Leases

We recognise that many of our clients will have questions surrounding their commercial lease arrangements and how each of the parties (landlord and tenant) may be impacted by current events. We anticipate particular concerns around i) rent payment – it may be that the parties can agree short term solutions such as which including moving from quarterly to monthly payments to assist cash flow; ii) service charges; iii) keep open clauses; and iv) rent-abatement clauses – please get in touch if issues arise.

Macdonald Henderson is here for you

We have the systems in place to support you. Given the governmental guidance issued on the evening of Monday 16th March 2020 it is our intention to move to a skeletal office function from the evening of Tuesday 17th March 2020 and for the majority of staff to work remotely from Wednesday 18th March 2020.

Communication

Here are the key team contact details should you need them.

Best wishes

Macdonald Henderson Limited

Corporate

David Beveridge
db@macdonaldhenderson.co.uk

Fraser Morrison
fraser@macdonaldhenderson.co.uk


Disputes & Business Recovery

Alan McKee
alan@macdonaldhenderson.co.uk


Employment

Laura McKnight
laura@macdonaldhenderson.co.uk


Commercial Property

Ian Anderson
ia@macdonaldhenderson.co.uk

Stacy Campbell
stacy@macdonaldhenderson.co.uk


Private Client

Maureen Matheson mm@macdonaldhenderson.co.uk

Victoria Lawson
victoria@macdonaldhenderson.co.uk

Last updated: 12.05pm, Tuesday 17th March 2020

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