SWANSEA | MUMBLES | PORTHCAWL | 01792 65 00 00
Author: Douglas-Jones Mercer
Date: 19 March 2020
Following Welsh Government’s announcements on Wednesday and Thursday it is becoming clearer in part how they are proposing to help businesses survive not only the pandemic, but the potential implications once the pandemic is over. With each announcement many questions are answered, but it seems many more questions are being raised.
These are the answers from Welsh Government so far:
• As confirmed in the last note, Welsh Government is matching England’s business rate relief, with 100% relief for businesses in leisure, hospitality and shops who are in properties with a rateable value of £51,000 or less. Pubs with a rateable value of £100,000 or less will be able to claim up to a £5,000 reduction on their business rates bill.
• £100 million will be available as a grant scheme for small businesses and more details will become available as soon as possible.
• Development Bank of Wales is offering a 3-month capital and monitoring fee repayment holiday for all customers on request. This arrangement will remain in place until 30th June 2020.
It was also announced this week that all schools in Wales will close from Friday 20th March. Schools will remain open for children of key workers and those who are vulnerable.
More information will of course become available as time goes on, but it is unclear at the moment how those who remain in work but whose work isn’t ‘essential’ should manage childcare given the school closures.
Employees are entitled to time off work where they need to look after a dependent in an unexpected time but there is no statutory right to pay during this time. Many employers will therefore face absences in the workplace, while many employees will now need to take a period of unpaid leave, with limited information about when they will be able to return to work. Employers should check their employment contracts and policies, as their employees may have a contractual right to pay during such an absence.
LANDLORDS AND TENANTS
Emergency legislation is being introduced to suspend new evictions from social or private rented accommodation during the pandemic, and no new possession proceedings through the courts are to start. These measures are expected to remain in place for a period of three months. Landlords and tenants are expected to work together during this period to establish affordable plans.
Additionally, the mortgage holidays on offer from most of the major banks has been extended to buy to let mortgages. This will be especially helpful for landlords whose tenants are unable to pay due to unpaid absence or sickness absence during the pandemic. At DJM, we have assisted with moving from capital and interest mortgages to interest only mortgages.
This note was written by Georgia Power, a Solicitor in DJM’s Corporate and Commercial Department. Georgia has expertise and experience in varied transactions involving SMEs and drafting commercial contracts (including clauses such as those mentioned above) as well as assisting in employment matters. You can contact Georgia on firstname.lastname@example.org or on 01792 656518.
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