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Stronachs’ earlier release Irritancy (termination) of leases in Scotland discussed measures brought into force in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by the Coronavirus Act 2020. On Tuesday 31 March, and earlier than expected, the “Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill”, was fast-tracked through Holyrood.  

We are living through a perfect storm. Russia has withdrawn from the OPEC+ arrangement and both Saudi Arabia and Russia are ramping up production. At the same time demand is being destroyed by the measures required to combat the spread of Covid-19. The oil price has crashed. It is 30th March 2020 and this morning Brent Crude Oil Futures are sitting at slightly under $23 per barrel. 

On 26 March 2020 the Working Time (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2020  (“WTCA Regulations”) were made, coming into force with immediate effect. These regulations affect rights of workers to carry over holidays which they were unable to take due to coronavirus.

The UK and Scottish Governments have taken a number of measures to help companies weather the Coronavirus crisis. These include the Business Interruption Loan Scheme (Scheme) which has been introduced by the UK Government to provide SMEs with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million.  This support has been welcomed by businesses coming to terms with the economic consequences of the current crisis but taking advantage of these sources of funding is not always straightforward; borrowing needs to be repaid and directors are subject to director duties and rules on wrongful trading which can result in directors incurring personal liability.

Those in the process of moving home or who are planning to do so in the near future, will doubtless already be aware that sales and purchases of residential property have been severely disrupted as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

What are the main problems?

  • Registers of Scotland is closed to new applications

The Law Society of Scotland has issued guidance on the correct procedures for Solicitors taking Will instructions from new and existing clients during this period when face to face meetings with clients are not possible.

Witnessing

Particularly welcome is the guidance on the situation where it is not possible for a witness to be present in person during the signing process.

Commercial property has not been left unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure of all non-essential businesses has caused disruption and uncertainty for both landlords and tenants. One particular concern for tenants is the prospect of their lease being terminated early due to an inability to continue to pay rent.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - 'Furlough leave'

On Friday 20th March, the Chancellor set out a package of temporary measures to support people and businesses through the period of disruption caused by COVID-19.

 

These measures include a new 'Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme'.  Under the scheme all UK employers will be able to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been 'laid off' during this crisis.

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