Covid-19 business news update 16th April 2020.

16th April 2020.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

During the Covid-19 outbreak we will continue to share (as we can) the business news stories we have seen that we think will affect our members and readers. The news stories you might have missed that might have an impact on SMEs and those that sell on credit.

2 Million cases worldwide

Confirmed global cases passed the 2 million mark, despite widespread testing not being available in many places. France registered its worst daily death toll so far. Spanish cases rose the most in six days and Portugal is also seeing an increase in new infections. Deaths in the U.K. fell marginally, With experts judging that the virus may soon peak. In terms of lockdown exit strategies, the government in Germany is set to allow small shops to reopen next week and schools to gradually restart in May. Other countries will be watching closely.


The world has reacted mournfully to yesterdays news that a diversion seeking Trump was seeking to stop the US’s funding for the World Health Organisation while it conducts a review. Trump’s decision was a source of deep regret to the EU, “most concerning” to Russia, and “a dangerous step in the wrong direction” according to the American Medical Association. Trump made the claim that that the country has “passed the peak” of the COVID-19 outbreak, which has infected more than 632,000 people in America.

The opposition

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is urging the government to publish an exit strategy from the COVID-19 lockdown this week. The government is expected to announce on Thursday that social distancing measures will continue.

Will your insurance cover your business interruption?

The UK Financial Conduct Authority has written to insurance firms, telling them how it expects them to handle claims by small and medium enterprises against business interruption cover during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a letter to insurance bosses, the FCA’s Interim Chief Executive Chris Woolard warned the watchdog would be carefully scrutinising the industry’s treatment of customers.

The FCA has urged insurers to pay out to businesses affected by coronavirus as quickly as possible, telling heads of insurance firms that there a number of policies where “it is clear that the firm has an obligation to pay out.”

In the letter to executives, the City watchdog added: “For these policies, it is important that the claims are assessed and settled quickly.”

The FCA also confirmed that the majority of business interruption policies make no provision for the disruption caused by COVID-19, saying estimates based on discussions with the industry suggest “most policies have basic cover, do not cover pandemics and therefore would have no obligation to pay out in relation to the pandemic.”

Unemployment set to hit 10%

The Office for Budget Responsibility has warned that unemployment is likely to surge to 10% over the coming months, with more than 2m workers expected to lose their jobs in the second quarter.

Warning sounded over furlough extension

London Chambers of Commerce and Industry chief executive Richard Burge has told member businesses that he is seeking “urgent clarity from the Government about the furlough scheme beyond May 31,” cautioning that without an extension “many businesses will feel they have to turn to redundancy consultation sooner rather than later.”

Michael Lassman, London chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, confirmed that many member businesses are concerned about cash-flow after furlough protection is removed and are close to making tough decisions on redundancies.

HMRC chief executive Jim Harra said the website for making furlough claims should be up and running by next week.

Spotlight on light touch administration

The FT looks at a mooted “light touch” administration process that allows company directors to file for administration but retain day-to-day control, protecting companies from creditors as the coronavirus crisis rolls on.

More than £1bn handed out through CBILS

UK Finance has announced that a total of £1.1bn in coronavirus support funding has been loaned to 6,020 SMEs as of April 14.

The total proportion of firms receiving payouts is less than one in four of those who made a claim, with 28,460 applicants. Analysis shows that just 2.6% of the money available has actually been loaned by banks.

The average value of loans made through the coronavirus business interruption loans scheme (CBILS) has risen to over £185,000.

UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones said he was “grateful that so many colleagues worked through the bank holiday so that over £1bn of support has now been delivered,” adding that he expects the figure to “continue to grow rapidly.”

Meanwhile, the latest coronavirus business impact tracker from the British Chambers of Commerce shows 66% of smaller firms have furloughed employees and are set to make claims for taxpayer money to pay staff wages.

Elsewhere, the FT looks at the impact of COVID-19 on small firms, with a report from the ACCA and Corporate Finance Network showing it has forced 10% of clients out of businesses.

Spending slips at record rate

A study by the British Retail Consortium and KPMG shows that overall consumer spending fell by 4.3% year-on-year in March – the steepest decline since the study began in 1995.

The first two weeks of the month saw sales climb 12% but lockdown measures designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 drove a 27% fall over the next fortnight.

On a like-for-like basis, retail sales in March decreased by 3.5% compared with March 2019.

Banks have funds to boost economy, says BoE’s Woods

Bank of England (BoE) deputy governor Sam Woods says Britain’s banks have enough funds to keep lending to the economy, despite a bleak recession warning from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR).

He told a meeting of parliament’s Treasury Select Committee that the BoE has allowed banks to tap £23bn of their capital buffers to support up to £190bn of lending – far exceeding the £16bn net lending to firms seen in 2019.

With a scenario mapped out by the OBR saying the economy could shrink 35% in Q2 and 13% over the year, Mr Woods said it is “not at all obvious” that this would be worse for banks overall than last year’s BoE stress test for lenders.

“We go into this with a well-capitalised banking sector,” Mr Woods insisted, telling the committee: “Banks have ample capacity from a capital point of view.”

Tax rises may be needed to fix public finances

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that taxes will need to be raised or spending cut to rebalance public finances once the economy recovers from coronavirus outbreak.

Its biannual Fiscal Monitor report says: “Once the COVID-19 crisis is over, prudent fiscal policies call for appropriately paced, inclusive and credible adjustments to put debt ratios on a firm downward trajectory.”

John Hawksworth, PwC’s chief economist, offers a similar position, saying: “It is possible that some longer-term tax rises or spending restraint may be needed eventually, but only after the economy has made a full recovery from the current crisis.”

While the IMF has forecast that Britain’s national debt will climb from 85.4% of GDP to 95.8% by next year as borrowing quadruples to 8.3% of GDP, PwC expects borrowing this year of £180bn to £260bn – a figure representing 12% of GDP.

Hopes rise of dividend solution for 2m businesses falling between the cracks

Small Business Minister Paul Scully says business owners who pay themselves through dividends need state-funded coronavirus relief, noting that the tax scheme does not differentiate between types of dividends.

Javid: Government should back emergency loans

Former Chancellor Sajid Javid has urged the Government to guarantee loans for SMEs in order to ensure that firms receive emergency funding. Mr Javid has said that even though he feels that banks should have “some skin in the game,” the “unprecedented” nature of the crisis means the Treasury should consider the move.

Former cabinet ministers Amber Rudd and George Osborne have backed Mr Javid’s proposal, made on the BBC’s Today programme.


The Guardian, Financial Times and Telegraph have said today they will furlough dozens of employees as the COVID-19 outbreak decimates advertising revenue for news organisations. Guardian Media Group (GMG), which runs the Guardian and Observer, said it expects revenue for the first six months of the financial year to fall by £20m due to the collapse in advertising


Greenland’s ice sheet melted to the tune of 600 billion tonnes of water last year, its biggest drop in surface mass since records began, according to a new study. Shrinkage from the ice sheet, which is the world’s second-largest after Antarctica’s, resulted in a 1.5mm rise in the global sea level.

Post-crisis efforts can set us on a low-carbon path

In a letter to the FT, PwC’s Dr Celine Herweijer says that while COVID-19 may slow climate-related action, the pandemic may drive increased low-carbon


Brexit negotiations are due to resume, with Michel Barnier for the EU and David Frost for Britain, talking again over future relations. Frost and chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier will hold week-long negotiating rounds via video conference on the weeks commencing 20 April, 11 May and 1 June.

The deadline is looming but neither side shows much inclination of being will to compromise. With the end of December of looming, the prospect of the present transition agreement ending and Britain left to trade with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms because they failed to make a deal draws ever more likely.

The EU withdrawal treaty allows the deadline to be extended by up to two years. But while the EU is happy to do this, Britain resists it. Many trade experts expect that, with covid-19 all-consuming, the government will soften this position by the end of June, when a decision must be made.

Warehouse and Oasis fall into administration

Oasis and Warehouse have fallen into administration, with 202 jobs lost as Deloitte steps in as administrator.

Over 1,800 employees will be furloughed as the Oasis, Warehouse and Idle Man brands continue to trade online in the short-term.

Rob Harding, joint administrator at Deloitte, who noted that the coronavirus had had a “devastating effect on the entire retail industry”, says that the firm has seen “significant interest from potential buyers”.


Barratt Developments said it would furlough approximately 85% of its employees as part of a series of measures to cut costs.Following measures announced in April including the suspension of its dividend and land buying activity/ They added ‘We will pay furloughed employees their normal pay while they are furloughed until at least the end of May 2020’

Do you sell on credit?

With pressures on the cash flow it is essential that you stay on top of the credit limits you grant customers and watch carefully for any late payments.

Those customers will look for the easiest option  to boost their cash-flow. Don’t let it be you.

You can’t just assume your customers can and will pay you eventually, no matter how big their name is.

It is essential to have credit management systems in place to monitor and check your customers credit worthiness.

It is also best practice to use a trusted third party like CPA to make sure you are paid on time by customers, no matter how good a name they have.

About CPA

The Credit Protection Association can help!

Formed in 1914, CPA has been providing credit management services to SMEs for over 100 years.

At the Credit Protection Association, we provide first class credit information that can help you avoid being over extended to customers who are at risk. Our monitoring service can flag up warning signs long before the end, giving you the chance to adjust and reduce your exposure. We provide recommended credit limits and credit scores on a traffic light system and can help you set appropriate credit policies for your customers.

We regularly publish lists of the latest insolvencies but by then it is too late. Our credit reports however predict approximately 96% of company insolvencies long before they arrive.

Companies in trouble usually have very bad cash flow and they try to deal with it by delaying payment to their suppliers, increasing your exposure to them.

If you supply on credit, help us help you identify the risks.

Why use a third party collector?

As a third party collector, we can also get your payments prioritised over those who are not as hot on collections. When your customer receives a letter from the Credit Protection Association regarding their outstanding account, they are going to want to get that resolved as a priority. Our overdue account recovery service can get your unpaid invoices to the top of their “to do” list and get your invoice paid.

Over the years we have collected billions in overdue invoices for our customers.

Our debt recovery and credit management services give our members the financial freedom needed to grow and prosper, while our new Late Payment Compensation department could unlock hidden potential and offer the compensation needed to springboard your business to success.

You might be hesitant about contacting a debt collection agency. What are they going to be like?

Can they help your particular type of business?

There is no need for concern. CPA are courteous, helpful and very probably have had direct experience of working with your type of business.

Debt collection agencies are not all alike.

Success lies in both recovering money and keeping customers happy. The Credit Protection Association was founded in 1914 and  has helped tens of thousands of UK businesses to collect outstanding payments and reduce the risk of incurring bad debt. We believe that creditors deserve to be paid for the work or goods they have supplied but we fully understand the need to maintain
the best possible relationship with customers!

At The Credit Protection Association, we provide solutions, advice and back-up in all areas relating to the supply of services or goods on account. Client-members receive everything they need from a single source to reduce debtor days and write-offs.

The Credit Protection Association has helped has assisted tens of thousands of UK businesses with their credit control requirements, since the First World War.

We are polite, firm and efficient when it comes to recovering outstanding debt.

“We have used CPA for a number of years now. The website is easy to navigate around with lots of helpful reports. The staff are always at hand and very friendly. CPA has  helped us reduce our debt over the years and keep track of potential issues with our customers.”
~ CPA client in Buckinghamshire

“The service from CPA has proved to be everything that you said it would be. We have already seen a huge benefit. We have had a number of overdue accounts paid promptly and directly to us. It is also a huge weight off our mind to know that once we have passed an overdue payment over to you, you take care of everything whilst keeping us informed.
~ Credit Controller client in Warrington

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections


Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

CPA is passionate about late payment

The Credit Protection Association has been protecting smaller firms against poor payment practices for over 100 years.

We are extremely passionate about breaking the late payment culture that holds back the UK economy and threatens many SMEs with cash flow difficulties being the single biggest killer of Britain’s small businesses.

If you were regularly paid late we can help. Those former customers used you to boost their own cashflow, regularly paying you late.

As a result you had extra costs, you had the distraction of having to chase payment, you had opportunity costs because your capital was tied up in their late invoices.

Under little used legislation, you are entitled to compensation for those late payments.

Now you can boost your own cash-flow.

CPA can help unearth the those hidden treasures.

We have the technology to reveal the compensation you are due and we have the extensive experience and expertise to then turn those claims into cash.

Yes, CPA can help you boost your business cash-flow.

Don’t let your bankers control you, contact CPA today.

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

Read our blog here on how to crack down on the late payment culture.

Read our blog here on how to give late payers the slap they need.

The “Why” of the late payment culture.

New PM should walk the walk and back small firms over late payments

Paying late is “crack cocaine” to big business.

Late payment culture risks “spiraling out of control”

visit our late payment compensation page

See our full blog and FAQ on late payment compensation

Do you realise you could be sitting on a fortune?

Late payments often result in a cash flow crunch and leave SMEs in need of a cash injection.

If you sold B2B on credit then there may be a hidden source of capital you can call on.

If you fancy an bit of extra cash in your business, rather than jumping through hoops with your bank, you could look to uncover the resources from an unexpected source within your own business.

Not many are aware but there could be a hidden fortune within your business, sitting there, just waiting to be uncovered and released.

We can help you uncover the pile of gold, you didn’t even know you were sitting on.

If you trade with other businesses and were often paid late then you could be entitled to significant compensation.

Under little known and under-utilised legislation your business could be due huge amounts in compensation that you didn’t even know about.

Let’s be clear – this is not a way to weaken any customer relationships you value. It is one that identifies who’s been paying late and then recover the potentially significant sums in compensation using Late Payment Legislation from businesses where the relationship has already ended.

You can pick and choose who you want us to follow up – but once we’ve agreed which companies you’d like to pursue compensation from it’s a fast process and there’s no financial outlay to you whatsoever. My team at CPA put its expertise to work to recover the compensation due and fight late payment culture.

That compensation could provide the cash boost your business needed.

But don’t delay, that compensation evaporates if not claimed within six years of the late payment.

How can CPA help?

CPA has developed a unique technology to dig into your accounting records and discover the cash injection you are due by means of compensation. The software does all the hard work. Our software interacts over the cloud with over 300 different software packages, working directly with your accounts package, just so long as it’s stored on a computer.

We recognise that most companies do not have the resources to spend time on the identification and calculation of Late Payment Compensation. Our service can produce an Analyses within just a few days with (usually) less than 30 mins of co-operation from our clients. We work directly with over 300 accounting packages but can also work with bespoke accounts packages. Indeed, speed is essential as the oldest invoices may fall foul of the 6-year time limit.

Once the Sales Ledger Analyses is made available to clients, all that is required is that management decide which commercially sensitive ex-customers to remove from the list and return it to us.

CPA then uses its years of collection experience to explain and recover the Late Payment Compensation Claims. Clients do not handle any part of the recovery process as our team will take all communications from the companies against who the claims has been made. Often, it’s simply a case of explaining the legislation, sometimes we have to go all the way and enforce the legislation through the courts.

The result is that we are realising clients’ claims worth tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds which, of course, is pure net profit.  You may also be among the recipients of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” should you elect to take advantage of our services.

We do the work, you receive the cash.

If you have supplied goods and services to businesses on credit and were regularly paid late then you could be due significant sums in late payment compensation.

We are talking to companies and unearthing claims in the hundreds of thousands from former business customers who paid them late. Large business customers who abused their power to inflict unfair and sometimes illegal payment practices.

We are helping business owners  who are looking to boost the returns from their business before they retire. We are helping businesses who have lost major clients after years of loyal service to get properly compensated for systematic late payment. We are helping companies that were looking to close down, who looked insolvent and finding that cash injection they need to avoid insolvency.

Those former clients who regularly paid you late can finally be made to pay.

Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

Keep up to date with the latest news by following us on social media:-

CPA on Linkedin

CPA on facebook

CPA on twitter

See all our latest news here!

Housekeeping: Opening a New Account

Late payments are never good for business. What can you do?

Get paid earlier by understanding why late payments happen.

Protecting Your Business isn’t Half As Painful As You Think

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – recognising the types of payers you do business with!

See our blog on how to communicate with your debtor early and clearly to set the framework for prompt payments

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Debt Recovery (But Were Afraid To Ask)

Understand the “why” behind late payments

Read our blog on what to do when not paid on time

10 Bad Habits Every Credit Controller Should Give Up

The Credit Controller’s Best Friend

Debt Recovery: It’s Easier Than You Think!

How Managing Your Cash Flow Can Make You (and Your Business) A Success

Avoid insolvency – Don’t let your money go up in smoke

Read our blog here on how to crack down on the late payment culture.

Read our blog here on how to give late payers the slap they need.

25 excuses for late payment and how to get around them.

Read our Cash Flow Advice

Read about our overdue account recovery service

Read our blog – What is credit management?

Read our blog – How to select a debt collection agency

20 ways to avoid identity theft

see our blog – 15 steps to avoid invoice fraud

Overcoming 5 common reasons for disputed invoices

As insolvencies rise, could you spot these warning signs in your customers?

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections