In the daily press conference on Friday May 29th 2020, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced further changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
Last week the UK government introduced the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill in Parliament.
The main objective of the Bill is to provide businesses with the flexibility and space needed to continue to trade during this difficult time caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, the provisions around the new moratorium and the new restructuring plan proposal have been under consideration for a few years.
On 20 April the United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that the UK Government would launch the Future Fund as part of the British Business Bank Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. The Future Fund is intended to provide support to the UK’s innovative companies with good potential, for which we might read start-ups, growth companies or emerging companies.
On 14 May 2020, the UK Government extended the temporary suspension of wrongful trading liability until 30 June 2020.
On 28 March this year, the Government announced that it would “at the earliest opportunity“ introduce legislation, retrospective to 1 March 2020, to relax the insolvency rules which can make directors of limited liability companies potentially liable if they continue to trade and incur liabilities when they knew or ought to have concluded that there was no reasonable prospect of avoiding an insolvent liquidation or administration.
Throughout the lockdown in the UK, the construction industry has been allowed to remain open for business providing that compliance with the Public Health England measures is maintained. However, most national house builders at least had taken a decision to close sites. Boris Johnson on Sunday 10th May, in his long awaited press briefing on the potential relaxation of social distancing road map, made clear that those in construction and manufacturing should go back to work, if they could.
Lean Thinking as a concept has its roots in Toyota’s production system. One of the primary tenants of this concept is to aim to perfect process, as continuous improvements address root causes of quality issues, and the elimination of waste.
The construction industry, on the other hand, has long been criticised for being wasteful, and failing over the decades to deliver good value. Furthermore, it has a reputation for being an adversarial industry with significant disputes. There have been countless reports over the decades attempting to work out how these ills can be addressed.
Following on from the Prime Ministers statement on Sunday evening, May 10th, setting out the next phase -Stay Alert- there was a general reaction of uncertainty about how this will translate for employers and employees in practical terms.
Last week we discussed, in light of the encouragement from Robert Jenrick MP (Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government) for the construction industry to remobilise, the government’s apparent reluctance to provide confidence and clarity for the construction industry in respect of the safe operation of sites.
In the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on 10 May 2020, he re-stated that encouragement for the construction industry, where possible, to return to work.
On 7 May 2020 the UK Government published its “Guidance on responsible contractual behaviour in the performance and enforcement of contracts impacted by the COVID-19 emergency”.
The construction industry in the UK has been afforded the freedom to continue work where it is safe to do so since the lockdown was implemented. It is a freedom that the sector has done its best to exploit where it can, with significant works continuing on a variety of essential and less essential projects. A number of leading construction companies and housebuilders have continued or recommenced work where they are able to do so, and a number of high profile projects are apparently progressing well. Build UK has reported that its members, who comprise some of the largest contractors operating in the UK, are now working on 73% of sites (up from 69% last week). However, the issues for the industry facing the prospect of full remobilisation to all sites have not changed.