Government pressure to improve the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS)
In a sign that the government remains unhappy with the banking industry’s responsiveness to the COVID-19 pandemic, the business secretary Alok Sharma recently contacted leading banks to emphasise the need for emergency loans to be distributed to businesses quickly.
Three weeks after the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) was launched just 4,200 of the estimated 300,000 firms that sought help online have received their support loans.
The Treasury is also under pressure to underwrite 100% of the loans, removing the risk of default from banks and speeding up the process. Meanwhile, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing to double the amount midsized companies can borrow to £50m following concerns many larger businesses would be left without adequate support.
The government has also been criticised for excluding small businesses and start-ups from the CBILS since the minimum loan is £25,000. It seems that there may be a new separate scheme for start-ups which we address below.
Treasury prepares start-up support scheme
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis it is estimated that more than 30,000 start-ups employing 3.3 million people do not qualify for the already announced support measures and are in immediate jeopardy if new packages and policies are not urgently put in place.
The Treasury is said to be considering a rescue package for start-ups that could see joint investment with private backers in a bid to ease pressures brought about by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The mooted plans could also involve increased support from the British Business Bank, with the Chancellor likely to use the Government-owned development lender to deploy public money.
HMRC taxpayer inquiries suspended as pandemic continues
HMRC’s inquiries into taxpayers and firms under investigation have been suspended as the coronavirus crisis continues Meanwhile, taxpayers have been requested not to press HMRC for information or documents.
There are exceptions to this suspension, including where HMRC assessing time limits are about to expire, for example where the four year period for issuing a discovery assessment is rapidly approaching or where HMRC are concerned about the solvency of a taxpayer or there is a risk that the taxpayer will dissipate their assets leaving little or nothing for HMRC to recover.
HMRC criminal investigations and anti-money laundering investigations will continue as normal.
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