Keys and PadlockOur new on line “Unlocking the Lockdown” tool looks at the next steps that may need to be considered by businesses across the UK as the country slowly navigates out of lockdown. As of 18 May 2020, our team has communicated with over 200 businesses to see what their next steps are and have concluded their initial findings for the following areas:

  • Financial Health and Support;
  • Supply Chain;
  • Workforce and Employment Law;
  • Pensions;
  • Health and Safety and
  • Tax and Company Law Requirements.

Our initial results have uncovered that just under 50% of businesses have not considered the impact of any subsequent lockdown. Although it appears that the UK Government is moving forward with unlocking the nation, a fear of a second wave of infections and the financial implications it would bring, need to be carefully considered by every business.

The results from the Opinium-Cebr Business Distress Tracker earlier this month reported that more than a quarter of a million businesses confirmed that they will be unable to survive if current trading conditions continued for another month, while more than 1.1 million firms could collapse if lockdown continues for more than three months. These figures demonstrate the high risk of insolvency and the necessity to consider the risks associated with any extension of the lockdown.

Furthermore, it appears that supply chains are not being carefully considered when determining the financial health of a company. Although many corporates have considered the financial position of their company and its supply chain in general, there are still between 10-20% of corporates who have not. Broken down further, crucial discussions with suppliers and/or customers around potential increases in costs, payment terms and, where required, options to vary terms appear to be overlooked by 21.7% of the respondents.

In order to survive the unprecedented challenges brought about by the coronavirus crisis, many businesses have had to adapt their daily practice. Supply and demand is a crucial element of business and requires further attention moving forward.

In respect of health and safety, if offices were to open, our findings show that there is a potential high risk posed to the health and safety of employees. Over 20% of respondents have not considered how to ensure that employees are aware of the latest official advice on restrictions and appropriate safeguards connected with COVID-19, whilst 84.3% have not considered how the rollout of the NHS “track and trace” app might impact on the workforce. Operational safeguards, for example travel to work, use of communal areas and risks connected with operating air-conditioning need to be at the forefront of discussions regarding post-lockdown.

Further participation with our unlocking tool would allow our team to create more accurate results and shed light on areas that businesses may need to consider further moving forward out of lockdown.