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To help businesses with the ongoing impact of the pandemic the Government has decided to extend measures in the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act (the Act) to protect struggling companies.
The extension to the measures introduced in the Act, includes an extension of the suspension of liability for wrongful trading from 30 April 2021 to 30 June 2021, as well as respite for those facing winding up petitions during the same period.
Struggling businesses and their owners will welcome the extension to the removal of the threat of personal liability arising from wrongful trading, as it may give those facing the prospect of insolvency time to turn their fortunes around without a personal penalty if the company fails.
Businesses will also still be able to take advantage of the COVID-19 moratorium until the end of June, which provides a company with breathing space from creditor enforcement to enable it to enact a rescue plan.
A company may enter into a moratorium if it has been subject to an insolvency procedure in the previous 12 months.
The moratorium also covers waiving the requirement that a company subject to a winding up petition must obtain a court order and allows certain companies carrying on regulated financial activities, who would usually be ineligible, to seek the same support.
The extension to the Act also means that termination clauses continue to be prohibited. This will prevent suppliers from ceasing their supply or asking for additional payments, while a company is going through a rescue process. Small suppliers remain exempted from the obligation to supply until 30 June 2021.
In response to the extension, R3, the Insolvency and restructuring trade body, is calling on directors of COVID-hit businesses to make the most of the time granted by the Government’s extension to restructure and rebuild.
It says that business owners should use this additional time to put plans in place for when the Government support ends with the help of a professional adviser, such as their accountant, to consider the options open to them to address their financial issues.