Covid-19 lock-down business news update 19 May 2020.

19 May 2020.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

The Covid-19 lock-down continues and we are having to make do in a new normal.

Here are CPA we want to  share the business news stories we have seen that we think will affect our members and readers. Many of us are busy fighting to protect our businesses and therefore might have missed some of the news that could impact small businesses, their owners and those that sell on credit.

Covid-19 general news

An experimental vaccine developed by Moderna Inc. in the US has showed promising early signs that it can create an immune-system response in the body that could help fend off the covid-19, according to sampling of data from a small, first human trial of the inoculation. The researchers found that at two lower dose levels used in the study, levels of antibodies found after getting a second booster shot of the vaccine either equaled or exceeded the levels of antibodies found in patients who had recovered from the virus.“This is a very good sign that we make an antibody that can stop the virus from replicating,” Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in an interview. The data “couldn’t have been better,” he said.

Trump has again attacked the WHO, demanding improvements within the next 30 days or the US will cut off funding permanently , calling the UN organisation a puppet of China.

China has meanwhile pledged to make any treatment it develops for Covid-19 a global public good, available to all.

Donald Trump said he is taking the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to help ward off covid-19. America’s Food and Drug Administration advises against it and there is no proof that the drug works in that role and its side effects can also be deadly.

Spain’s government announced plans to provide a basic income to those worst affected by the pandemic. Eligible adults will receive at least €462 a month, in addition to their other benefits.


The FTSE 100 had its biggest rally in two months today to close up 248 points or 4.3% at 6048 yesterday on the encouraging early data from a potential covid-19 vaccine trial from Moderna (see above) boosted market sentiment, with investors also speculating on more stimulus to rescue the economy from a deep slowdown.

Markets across Europe saw gains of 5% plus. Germany’s DAX rose 5.7% to its highest level in over two weeks, while France’s main index rose 5.2%. The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 4.1%, in its biggest one-day percentage gain since March 24.

In the US the S&P closed up 3.15% and the Nasdaq 2.44%. In Asia gains were more modest with the Nikkei closing up 1.5% and the Hang Seng up around 2%.

Oil Prices rose over 8% to their highest in more than a month, supported by ongoing output cuts and signs of gradual recovery in fuel demand as more countries ease curbs imposed to stop the covid-19 pandemic spreading.

Gold Prices also jumped more than 1% on Monday to its highest since October 2012 after a batch of weak data knocked hopes for a speedy global economic recovery.

The pound has risen on the release of the new post brexit tariff regime which would allow for 60% of trade to be tariff free.

Start-up support on the way

The Treasury has released further details of the £500m Future Fund, a bailout package for fast-growing start-ups.

As of Wednesday, start-ups which have previously received £250,000 in equity from third-party investors will be able to access convertible loans of up to £5m from the Government. Most of the loans will convert into equity on a company’s next funding round.

Applicants must be able to match the Government funding with outside investment.

The package will allow Enterprise Capital Funds – partnerships between the British Business Bank and private venture capitalists – to be involved in the scheme, although backers that use the Enterprise Investment Scheme tax relief will not be eligible due to state aid restrictions in Europe.

UK Jobless Claims

UK Jobless Claims under Universal Credit soared 69.1%, or 856,000, to 2.1m in April, statistics showed today to illustrate the impact of covid-19 on the economy. The UK unemployment number increased by 50,000 to 1.35m as lock-down started in March, according to the Office for National Statistics. The ONS estimated the UK unemployment rate at 3.9% between January & March, slightly higher than the previous quarter.

EU Recovery fund

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron held a joint press conference (via video) to announce their support for a 500 billion-euro recovery fund to help the European Union recover from covid-19 in a major step toward tighter integration. The fund could be the first step toward fiscal union.

Merkel said that Germany would accept a fund within the framework of the EU budget, financed by additional borrowing, that would make grants to member states that have been hardest hit by the virus.

Crucially, she said the bonds issued by the European Commission would be repaid from the EU budget, the lion’s share of which is covered by Germany. Italian government bonds soared on the news.

The taxes most likely to rise

Harry Brennan in the Daily Telegraph says the huge amount of state aid handed out to ease the challenges brought about by the covid crisis will leave Chancellor Rishi Sunak no choice but to raise taxes, saying he may be forced to break manifesto pledges not to increase rates on income tax, National Insurance and VAT.

With this in mind, Mr Brennan looks at changes the Chancellor could make, saying Treasury officials calculate that increasing income tax rates from 20% to 21% could raise about £5bn a year as they look to close a £337bn gap in the public purse.

Mr Brennan also looks at whether changes for VAT and corporation tax could be on the cards, with the possibility of increasing the amount of National Insurance contributions self-employed people have to pay also mooted.

He adds that HMRC may be handed greater power to crack down on tax evasion and avoidance to close the tax gap. George Bull of RSM suggests the Government may expect people, aware of the “severity of the situation”, to back its measures, “even for something as unpopular as raising taxes.”

Pandemic points to taxing times?

With a leaked Treasury document suggesting the covid crisis will cost the Exchequer nearly £300bn this year, the Express notes that the document suggests a rise in income tax may be one option for helping balance the books.

Mike Hodges at Saffery Champness offers insight on potential Government measures in the aftermath of the pandemic, saying that while the financial crisis saw ire directed toward bankers and the finance sector, the current crisis does not offer a clear target that may bear the brunt of a “seemingly inevitable” tax hike.

He adds that while global technology giants who have thrived amid the pandemic could be a target, the Chancellor is likely to face pressure to protect low paid workers who have been at the frontline from tax increases.

Casual Dining Group set to bring in administrators

The Casual Dining Group, owner of Bella Italia, Café Rouge and Las Iguanas, is preparing to bring in administrators. The firm has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators, giving it protection from creditors for 10 working days. Casual Dining Group is working with advisers from AlixPartners over a potential restructuring programme. Russell Nathan of HW Fisher comments: “This shows the very real impact COVID-19 is having on household restaurant names, and unfortunately we are likely to hear more of this going forward.”

Cath Kidston creditors owed £90m

Unsecured creditors of retailer Cath Kidston are owed around £90m and are expected to receive only a small dividend after its pre-pack administration, reports the Times. Records filed at Companies House by Alvarez & Marsal show unsecured claims including trade creditors, landlords and HMRC.

Lockdown exacerbating gender pay gap

The Daily Telegraph’s Maria Lally explores potential gender inequality amid furloughing rolled out during the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at whether the brunt of home-schooling responsibilities are falling on working mothers.

She highlights figures showing that more than 7m UK workers are furloughed and around 2m are newly unemployed – with women representing 60% of those having lost jobs.

A report from the London School of Economics suggests the lock-down will exacerbate the gender pay gap as women are more likely to lose their jobs in the upcoming recession, thanks to being over-represented in sectors likely to be hit the hardest, such as hospitality, leisure and the arts.

Ms Lally notes that 40% of women in the UK are employed part-time compared to 13% of men, meaning that in some households it makes more economic sense for a woman to ask to be furloughed. Phil Mitchell at KPMG says, anecdotally, that more women have asked to be furloughed, or reduce their hours.

Home-workers work fewer hours but feel more productive

PwC analysis shows that a shift to working from home driven by the coronavirus lockdown has left employees working fewer hours but feeling more productive.

Almost three-quarters of staff living in London say they are working fewer hours than they did before the COVID-19 crisis, while 71% of Yorkshire-based respondents said they are more productive since working from home.

The poll saw 40% of UK workers say they would like to continue working from home more than they did before the covid-19 restrictions.

Carol Stubbings at PwC, says: “We’ll undoubtedly see more working from home post crisis, but it’ll be about flexible working rather than the enforced situation we’re in now.”

Fraud warning amid pandemic

BDO analysis shows there were 464 cases of fraud exceeding £50,000 reported in 2019 compared with 525 in 2018, while the average value of fraud reached £3.6m.

The firm warns that the coronavirus crisis is providing a “fertile breeding ground” for such crimes.

BDO’s Sat Plaha said: “Firms should focus on controls, must not ignore red flags, and need to be confident enough to challenge in the way they did prior to this pandemic in order to remain safe.”

Fraudster pleads guilty over coronavirus tax scam

Fraudster Mohammed Khan has pleaded guilty to sending fraudulent text messages pretending to be from HMRC, offering tax refunds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

His scam involved links to fake Government websites designed to acquire victims’ personal and account details.

He pleaded guilty to one count of fraud by false representation and one count of possession of articles for use in fraud.

Don’t let Covid-19 bust your business!

 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).

A very recent report shows a 23% increase in the number of unpaid invoices since March 11th THIS YEAR – are you getting a build-up of late payers?

 Right now, overdue accounts must be a concern and CPA has a great track record of encouraging slow-payers to pay their suppliers quickly.

It takes less than 17 minutes to see how you would benefit, do you have the time now?

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