Covid-19 business news update 22 April 2020 .

22 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.

The Covid crisis is improving in some areas, but not without some setbacks. The Netherlands moved to begin easing restrictions as new infections dropped, while Italy aims to roll out a detailed restart program beginning on 4th May. In France, the number of patients in intensive care with Covid-19 fell to the lowest in three weeks, but here in the U.K., a sharp increase in daily deaths provided a reminder of the remaining dangers until a vaccine is found. In the U.S., infections rose the most since April 10. And over in Asia, the one-time standard bearer for managing Covid-19, Singapore, reported more than a thousand cases for the second day in a row.

UK Consumer Prices Index inflation rate fell 0.2% in March to 1.5 per cent, as Covid-19 restrictions hit fuel prices. Falls in the price of fuel and clothing resulted in the largest downward contribution to the change in the UK inflation rate between February and March.

Brent falls

Brent, Europe’s main oil price is following the rout that sent U.S. oil futures below zero for the first time ever this week. Brent for June delivery lost 16% to trade near $16 a barrel on Wednesday, adding to a 24% drop on Tuesday. New York’s West Texas Intermediate, meanwhile, fell a further 9%, following a 43% collapse monday. The Trump administration vowed to come to the rescue of the U.S. energy sector with stimulus funds and other measures, while a fund that offers investors exposure to fluctuations in crude prices might be worth less than nothing.

March sees thousands laid off in UK

Nearly 20,000 people became unemployed last month as a result of the coronavirus crisis, early estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) suggest, while separate figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions show there have been 1.5m new claimants for Universal Credit since the middle of March.

Labour market analyst John Philpott remarked: “Whether this has implications for how well the jobs market recovers after the lockdown is unclear but in any case we won’t be seeing the unemployment rate anywhere close to 4% for several years,” while KPMG UK chief economist Yael Selfin commented: “An additional spike in unemployment after the lockdown also seems likely, once government support via the Job Retention Scheme ends.”

KPMG UK chairman warns of coronavirus ‘economic disaster’

Bill Michael, the chairman of KPMG UK, has warned that the UK economy will not survive being in lockdown long enough for a vaccine to be available.

In a memo to staff, Mr Michael said: “At some point, we run the risk that the economic disaster will transcend the human one. The difficult judgments governments face is to strike a balance between the health of our people and our economy.”

He went on to forecast “a radical re-evaluation” of global supply chains and far-reaching consequences for the UK tax system when the time comes to address the soaring national debt.

Elsewhere, Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group think tank, said Britons will be forced to face the “chilling reality” of trillions of pounds of debt from the crisis, resulting in an “unholy trinity of spending cuts, tax rises and inflation”.

Andrew Bailey warns against easing social distancing too early

The governor of the Bank of England, Andrew Bailey, has warned that a premature end to coronavirus restrictions resulting in a further lockdown would have a severe impact of confidence and inflict further damage on the economy.

In an interview with the Mail, Mr Bailey reiterated his desire to see banks getting cash to small businesses, conceding that assessing risk was “gumming-up” the operational side. “I gee up the banks regularly, he said. “The Chancellor and I are both extremely keen that credit flows to firms.”

‘Future Fund’ to protect start-ups

The government’s new £250m ‘Future Fund’, which will be delivered by the British Business Bank, is due to launch next month. The Future Fund will provide government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5m, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors. These convertible loans may be a suitable option for businesses that rely on equity investment and are unable to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

Although the fund will officially begin in May, companies are preparing to apply on the GOV.UK website. A company is eligible to receive the funding if they are based in the UK; can attract the equivalent match funding from third party private investors and institutions; or the business has previously raised at least £250,000 in equi ty investment from third-party investors in the last five years

Councils failing to deliver grants

Many local authorities have still not delivered grants due to small businesses putting the survival of many at risk.

Data show under half of the £12.3bn distributed under the business rates relief scheme to councils in England has been distributed as of Monday, with the worst offenders only handing out 11% of funds.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said councils “must act now if they want to see small businesses survive on their local high streets when we reach the other side of this crisis. The funding is there to be used […] so it’s inexcusable for any council to delay.”

COVID-19 pressures could reshape advice industry

New research by NMG Consulting shows advisers are facing a “significant” threat to revenue whilst dealing with the task of helping clients manage market volatility amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a survey of 209 UK advisers, a fifth of respondents admitted the impact of market volatility caused by the outbreak had been much worse than expected.

Mark Fox, principal consultant at NMG, said it was essential for advisers to communicate with clients, especially those tempted to make emotional decisions under stress.

Pandemic hands fintech lenders a chance to prove their worth

With banks criticised for being too slow to get cash to small businesses, fintechs such as Funding Circle see the COVID-19 crisis as a chance to show their value as alternative lenders. Now, Innovate Finance, the trade body for financial technology companies, is calling on the Bank of England to provide liquidity support for non-bank lenders to deliver emergency government loans.

Tax reform required to rebuild economy

Prospect magazine reports on how the economic effects of the coronavirus are likely to affect the UK’s tax system, which is described as “complicated, inefficient and beset with perverse incentives that do little to raise revenue or meet the government’s wider economic objectives.”

It is advised that tax reform must take place to help ensure the revenue required to mend the economy after the pandemic subsides is raised “in the most efficient and least distortionary way possible.”

Former Treasury minister and shadow chancellor Ed Balls is quoted as saying that winning “the argument for why” is necessary to convince the public of the need for reform.

Cath Kidston closes high street stores

Cath Kidston has been sold back to its private equity owners, Baring Private Equity Asia, in a pre-pack deal that makes 900 workers redundant and closes 60 of its UK shops. About 30 staff are being kept on to work on its online business. Meanwhile, Primark has revealed that sales had dropped from £650m per month to zero as a result of all its stores closing in Europe and the US.

North East businesses worried they will not survive pandemic

Research by Robson Laidler Accountants, together with other members of the UK200Group, has shown that 31.9% of struggling small firms in the North East do not believe they will emerge from the coronavirus crisis intact, compared with 30% across the UK.

Meanwhile four-fifths of such businesses report encountering problems in getting help from their banks.

Graham Purvis, MD at Robson Laidler commented: “Our concern is that these small businesses will simply run out of cash and that will result in many very good small businesses failing. Yet this is avoidable as there are grants and schemes that have been made available, but they are not easily accessible or understood.”

He went on: “We are working with clients to support them in packaging their applications and then presenting them to the banks to ensure they have the best chance of a quick and positive response and thus can get the money they need to survive.”


 It will if your cash flow dries up, either sooner or later.

The Credit Protection Association (CPA) has been assisting thousands of UK businesses to get paid since 1914. We have seen many financial crises, this one will be particularly deadly for suppliers for sometime to come.

CPA eases cash from tardy debtors – Efficiently, Effectively, Economically and Ethically. Above all tactfully, because maintenance of goodwill is paramount.

To meet the needs of creditors in the current crisis, we have designed a “critical care” package especially tailored for the situation.

  • The annual package costs start at very low rates
  • A minimum performance warranty is provided
  • Several complimentary services included

Clients instruct CPA on-line via their PC or phone, completely user-friendly. Your late paying customers are told to pay you direct (not to us).

No face-to-face meeting required – just call Peter Uwins, CPA’s National Sales Manager, on 020 8846 0000 (business hours) or email today.

When you see your money come in, you will be so glad you used CPA.

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

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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

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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