COVID-19 NEWS BULLETIN 30th MARCH 2020
Today’s coronavirus daily press briefing was delivered by the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, with the focus of the update being the Governments work to support and advise British travellers to get home. Mr Raab stated that the Foreign Office has already helped hundreds of thousands of Britons to get home and announced were new arrangements between the Government and airlines to fly tens of thousands of individuals back home to the UK. Airlines included British Airways, Virgin and Easy Jet. Vulnerable people will be prioritised for those flights. There is a cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning.
Yesterday’s daily briefing from Downing Street focused primarily around the length of time before we can expect to return to normal. Warnings from England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries stated that the UK could be six months from ‘normal’. With this in mind it would be worthwhile to plan, both for personal finances and for your business interests, for a short term and a longer-term reduction in income should the restrictions stay in place for six months. However, there is positive news circulating that the restrictions could already be slowing down the spread ofthe virus. The weekend’s news included details of a letter from the Prime Minister being issued to 30 million households stating that the situation could get worse before it gets better and asking for peoples continued cooperation to stick to the tough measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus announced a week ago.
I am being reminded daily of the many scams doing the rounds as fraudsters attempt to take advantage of the disruption and uncertainty caused by Covid-19. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) are advising businesses to ensure that their employees are aware of the increased risks and recommended the below steps as a basic outline for protection:
Restricted user access and management of user privileges.
Inclusion of a cyber insurance policy in your business insurance.
Phishing email awareness and training for all staff involved in your business.
Implementing Two-factor authentication wherever possible or strengthening
Set out security measures for suppliers and partners. We are hearing more and
more of fake invoices looking very legitimate to those received from a business’s usual supplier and so would be very easily paid over by your accounts department.
In order to correctly advise our clients, we keep a keen eye on the markets. Given the current level of volatility we are tracking performance closer than ever and with only a few days to go before the start of the next tax year we are receiving queries from investors keen to benefit from the low unit prices available to purchase. For those in the enviable position of having sufficient emergency funds in this climate, now would be the time to access investing and take advantage of the market. Of course, this must be suitable advice for the investor and aligned with investors attitude to investment risk. However, if you are in the position to look at this area of financial planning, we are happy to guide you further on this point and provide advice on how suitable an approach this is for you individually.
We have been checking in with lenders with whom we have strong, well established, links. We are being told by several of the large high street banks that they are still very much open for business and that there have been no significant changes to their ability to sanction new lending. We are being told that as many have of course mobilised staff to work remotely, there is a slight lag in the time taken to respond to customers and as with ourselves, they are keen to assist their existing clients in their needs and continue talks with potential new customers requiring lending. The message we have been told by is that, if the lending was viable prior to the coronavirus crisis, they are still eager to assist in your business planning.
As we all look to make potential savings, we are receiving queries as to if it would be sensible to cancel insurance policies. Of course, we understand that when looking at your outgoings, and considering the current situation, it would be easy to give a knee-jerk reaction in your efforts to reduce monthly expenditure. We would be happy to assess your needs against your policies and indeed we do this at each client review. But we would strongly urge all our clients to not cancel an insurance policy without seeking our advice first. You could find that cancelation of a plan leaves you, or indeed your family, financially vulnerable. We ask all our clients not to be hasty in cancelling insurance. You may find yourself unprotected in the future when you have a need to claim. Reinstatement of policies at a later date will likely require a medical and in most instances, is likely to cost more at outset on a replacement policy than the cancelled plan cost at the time you terminated your cover due to age at application and increased medical history as we get a little older each year. Before making any changes to your insurance plans, please do seek professional advice from us on the potential downfalls of such cancellations.
Essential Links for assistance via Gov.uk
Self-Employment & Universal Credit
Employment & Support Allowance
https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance Covid-19 Small Business Government Grant https://smallbusiness.co.uk/how-do-i-get-the- government-3000-coronavirus-grant-2549866/ Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan https://smallbusiness.co.uk/how-do-i-apply-for-a-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan- 2549863/
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/if-youre-struggling- with-living-costs/ Emergency Funding https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/emergency-funding.aspx
The COVID-19 situation is fast moving and although we endeavour to bring you the latest information, the details enclosed are correct as far as we are aware, at the time of issue.
Should you have any concerns or questions, we are here for our clients and will happily arrange a telephone or video call appointment to provide guidance.
A good number of clients have taken the opportunity to use this downtime to review their financial planning, specifically analysing their current income and expenditure along with what income is expected to be in 6-12 weeks. This planning has been greatly received as it enables clients to prepare for what could be uncertainty for a prolonged period.
If you would like to take advantage of this review, please either call our practice mobile 07543 368 478 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
We are here to help you through these challenging times, so please don’t be afraid to get in touch.