HMRC Creditor Status in Insolvencies; Calls to Extend Wrongful Trading Moratorium; CBILS & Bounce Back Loan Update

On 22nd July HMRC’s status as a Preferential Creditor in insolvency situations was restored after nearly 20 years. Could this have an impact on the cost of obtaining business finance and the appetite of lenders to support businesses?

As growth in the economy begins to kick back in, many businesses are a long way off in settling into a new routine. To take the pressure off, calls are being made for the government to extend the temporary moratorium on Wrongful Trading which is due to be lifted at the end of September.

To close this Bulletin, we review the latest CBILS and Bounce Back Loan figures which continue to provide a financial lifeline to businesses.

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You can also read the transcript of this Bulletin below…

Changes to HMRCs ‘s creditor position in an insolvency; calls to extend the deadlines on the government support schemes; and I look at the latest CBIL’s and Bounce Back loan figures. All of this in the latest Business Finance Bulletin.

Let’s start this Bulletin by having a look at the little known change came into effect on the 22nd of July, which could have an impact on the cost of unsecured business borrowing. 
So what was that change? 
Well, on the 22nd of July, the Finance Bill passed through Royal Assent. In that Finance Bill was a change to HMRC ‘s creditor position as regards where it ranks when payments are due to it under an insolvency situation.
We need to wind this back to before 2002.

Before 2002, HMRC had a preferential creditor status. If a company went into insolvency, HMRC in respect of PAYE, VAT and National Insurance contributions, would have a first call on funds ahead of other unsecured creditors. However, via the Enterprise Act of 2002, their position was downgraded and they sat alongside other unsecured creditors. So money was shared out equally. 
The government, obviously is looking to increase his tax take. In 2018, it decided to reverse this position, making HMRC again, a preferential creditor. What kind of impact is this having in terms of business borrowing? 
Now we’ve got the position where, as before, HMRC can now take first call in respect of VAT PAYE and National Insurance.

That means essentially there’s less money now to share out amongst the unsecured creditors. So that’s going to put them in a worse position. From a business banking point of view, that’s obviously is going to be a concern. 
If you’ve got a Debenture which captures stock and other assets, now there’s less money to go around to secure and satisfy that Debenture. The impact’s going to be that it’s going to make borrowing potentially more expensive or take away and dampen further the amount of appetite that banks have to lend to businesses. 
So it’ s a little known change, but it potentially could end up costing you a bit more money when it comes to borrowing on an unsecured basis,

As businesses start to open their doors again and get back to a semblance of normal trading, t here are calls now being made for the government to extend certain elements of the support that they provided businesses over the last couple of months. Now, one area that is being called for an extension is a change that was made via the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act early this year. 
Under this Act, the concept of Wrongful Trading has been temporarily put aside. What I mean by this and I’ve covered this in previous Bulletins, Wrongful Trading is where as a Director, if you knowingly enter into a credit agreement, when, your business is insolvent, you could actually be accused of Wrongful Trading.
The government thought that this isn’t right during these turbulent times, and so they put a temporary moratorium on that to allow directors to take really good decisions in these uncertain times, mindful of the fact that they would not then be prosecuted for Wrongful Trading.

That moratorium finishes on the 30th of September. RSM, a auditing and accounting and consultancy firm have written to the Chancellor last week, pleading to extend that moratorium to the end of December this year, to give another period for businesses to settle down while they reassess their model and look at how they can do business and look ahead as to what their borrowing requirements are going to be; they think it’s unfair that that 30th of September deadline is met. 
There are also calls at the same time for the government to further extend the CBILs scheme as well. We’ll look later on in this Bulletin, but there’s still lots of applications coming through. 
As we start to get back into a new normal, calls are now being made for the government to extend deadlines and provide further support to businesses.
Continue watching this Bulletin and I’ll bring you updates as and when they come out.

To close this Bulletin , let’s take a look at what’s going on with the Bounce Back Loan scheme and the CBILs scheme. Figures have been released by HM Treasury and the British Business Bank as at 19th of July and their figures reveal that a total of £48 billion has now been lent out by accredited lenders.
That’s £48 billion of new money that’s been pumped into the economy in order to support struggling businesses.
Let’s have a look at the numbers underlying those figures. First of all, let’s look at the Bounce Back Loans. In terms of loans distributed of Bounce Back’s, there are now 1,084,153 loans; £32.79 billion has been lent out and it’s got an approval rate of 82%. So a very strong success rate.

Turning now to CBILs , which starts kicking in at £50,001 and above, not as good a numbers as Bounce Back Loans, but still really strong. Total number of CBILs loans now stand at 55,674; £12.2 billion has been lent out and it’s got an approval rate of 50%.

So not as good as a Bounce back Loan. There’s more due diligence and assessment goes into a CBILs facility, hence that success rate not being as good as under the Bounce Back Loan scheme. I’ve mentioned in previous Bulletins, you’ve got to be really aware if you’ve taken out any of these facilities in 2021, obviously your repayments will kick in.

If you’re looking to borrow money going forward under ordinary loan schemes, the banks are going to be critically looking at this new liability that will kick in in quarter one and quarter two next year; they’re going to factor those new repayments into your cashflow. Also you’ve got to be mindful as well, i f you’ve taken out a Bounce Back Loan or CBILs, then you’re kind of sending a signal that your business is not as strong and that you needed it.

Now I know many businesses that just applied for the loan because it’s such a good interest rate and why wouldn’t you. And certainly it’s there to use to help grow your business. But if you don’t need it, I would critically take a look say month 10 before your repayments kick in as to whether you actually still need it. I f you want to have a clean balance sheet are not impact on your ability to borrow money in the future. Think about paying it back. There are of course no penalties to paying it back early. So the schemes continue to be popular if you haven’t applied and you do need it, g et in there quick, all of these schemes have a finite deadline.

That’s it for another Bulletin and as ever, I hope you enjoyed watching. I f you did, please, don’t forget to give it a like and a share and subscribe to this channel. So that’s it. I look forward to being with you next time. In the meantime, have a safe, profitable, healthy week.

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