Furloughed Employees, Grant request and Property Transactions
I hope this email finds you all safe and well. I am still working hard to filter relevant information to you and today’s update comes with thanks to Cartmell Shepherd who continue to keep us informed of the latest legal situation and EDC who are working hard to get grant funding to businesses as quickly as possible.
New Legal Direction came out from HMRC yesterday that says specifically now (which is different to what it said in any previous government guidance before now) that the employer and employee must have agreed in writing that the employee will cease all work which does include by email.
So, if any of the businesses have sent emails to employees saying that they are being furloughed and saying that if you do not hear from them to say they object to being furloughed that you will treat them as having agreed to being furloughed, that may not be enough. The guidance previously just said that the employee must agree and the guidance referred to “notification”.
To make sure this new legal direction is complied with, it is advised that all businesses who have furloughed employees should get the employee to agree by email/letter to the fact that they agreed to being furloughed from the date they were and that they knew that they had to cease all work during the furlough period and agreed to that.
For further clarification, the link to the Direction is below:
E.D.C. Update on Grant payments: Businesses urged to register for cash grants
In response to COVID-19, the UK Government announced a number of measures to support businesses. So far over £12 million in grants has been distributed by EDC, with over 1400 businesses registering for support via the online form on the EDC website
However, EDC are now urging businesses to check their eligibility, as a number of businesses are yet to register.
Government support takes the form of two schemes: the Small Business Grant Fund and the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. These are administered locally by EDC. The Small Business Grant Fund offers £10,000 to all businesses receiving small business or rural rates relief. Businesses can register for this grant online here.
The Grant for Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Businesses is broken down into two tiers. £10,000 is available to businesses with a property of a rateable value up to £15,000. £25,000 is available to businesses with property of a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000. Businesses can also apply for this grant online at www.eden.gov.uk.
EDC are urging businesses to check their eligibility for the latter grant, as the criteria for firms which fit into these sectors has been expanded since it was first announced.
Businesses are eligible if their property is:
A shop which sells goods or services, or offers items for hire;
- A food and drink establishment like a restaurant, takeaway, bar or pub;
- An entertainment establishment like a cinema, theatre, bingo hall or live music venue;
- A tourism or heritage property, like an art gallery, stately home or historic house;
- Premises in which people assemble, such as a village hall or market;
- A sport or leisure facility, like a gym, sports ground or spa;
- A hospitality property, including hotels, guest houses, holiday homes, caravan parks and self-catering accommodation;
- A show room-type businesses, like a car show room, second-hand car lot or carpet shop;
- Some other businesses are eligible, like employment agencies and estate and letting agents.
Types of businesses which are eligible vary from petrol stations to garden centres, casinos to funeral directors. Businesses can check if they are eligible on the EDC website.
Currently, those which are not eligible for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant include financial services (e.g. banks, building societies, cash points, bureaux de change, short-term loan providers); medical services (e.g. vets, dentists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors) and professional services (e.g. solicitors, accountants, insurance agents/ financial advisers). These businesses may still however be able to access the Small Business Grant Fund.
Impact of Covid-19 on Property Transactions
Some helpful advice below and attached from Head of Property at Cartmell Shepherd, Jonathan Carroll, if you would like to share.