Sector Focus


Sponsored by: Thursfields Solicitors

Solicitors clarify criteria for business rates discount

Planning for M&A in a coronavirus hit economy

Details of which companies can benefit from the 100 per cent business rates discount in England have been clarified by Thursfields Solicitors. The Midlands law firm was

commenting after the Government released the guidance for local authorities on the expanded business rates holiday it has announced for the 2020-21 tax year. Tony Gibb, a director at

By Philip Chapman, Corporate Director, Thursfields Solicitors

The effects of the coronavirus (COVID 19) on mergers & acquisitions (M&A) will reach far and wide. Many of our corporate clients will be considering the repercussions and how they can protect themselves when conducting M&A deals that are either on going or planned. Our corporate team are

advising that those seeking to sell actively put in place contingency plans to try and mitigate any negative impact the pandemic may have had on their business. As part of the M&A process the buyer will be carrying out due diligence into the target company and will be considering the level of risk in areas such as contractual commitments and the impact on revenues. Sellers will need to comply

with pre-completion conduct of business covenants, such as trading in the ordinary course of business or commitments relating to contracts or employees. In turn, buyers are advised to request warranties around risk assessments and contingency plans. Furthermore, disclosure

letters should be carefully drafted to include coronavirus linked matters to ensure fair disclosure to the buyer. It is also likely that buyers will request specific indemnities for certain known risks.

For further information contact Philip Chapman, Corporate Director, Thursfields Solicitors at or call 0121 227 3879.


Thursfields and head of the company’s commercial property department, explained that the 100 per cent discount had been offered to retail, hospitality, leisure, and nursery businesses who met the criteria. He said: “Unlike the measures

previously announced, there will be no rateable value limit on this relief, allowing both large and small business to benefit. “The expanded discounts are particularly welcome news to larger business and pubs, both of which will enjoy increased eligibility under the new measures.” Mr Gibb pointed out that the

Government’s guidance on which properties the relief applied to were those that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants, cafes, drinking establishments, cinemas and music venues, leisure, hotels, guest and boarding premises and self- catering accommodation. The guidance, he said, provided

Tony Gibb: Extensive number of businesses are eligible for rates relief

examples of qualifying properties, including a wide range of shops and service providers, such as hair and beauty services, travel agents, and employment agencies Other qualifying businesses were

those that served food and/or drink, such as takeaways, coffee shops, pubs, and bars, and entertainment premises such as cinemas, live music venues, sports and leisure facilities, public halls and hotels. Mr Gibb said: “Although

extensive, the list the Government

has provided is not intended to be exhaustive and should be used as a guide for local authorities in considering which types of properties will be eligible for relief. “Properties that will not be eligible

include those used for financial, medical or professional services and Post Office sorting offices.” “Importantly, no action is

required by businesses to access the scheme. It is up to local councils who may have to reissue bills, and they are expected to do this as soon as possible.”

YMCA gets together on merger advice

Bevan Brittan has advised on the merger of two YMCAs in the Midlands to form a new organisation – YMCA Heart of England. YMCA Birmingham and YMCA Coventry &

Warwickshire have been formally joined together after two years of working in partnership. YMCA Heart of England will

continue to deliver local services to young people and communities, using the familiar trading names YMCA Birmingham and YMCA Coventry & Warwickshire, drawing on a combined experience of more than 300 years of supporting young people. Sarah Greenhalgh (pictured), senior

associate at Bevan Brittan, said: “YMCA has a proud history here in the Midlands, and so we were delighted to have provided legal and strategic advice to its leadership and boards at this important time in the charity’s development. “Together, they now have an extensive portfolio of

accommodation and youth services. We are pleased that the merger will enable the charity to achieve its ambitions.” YMCA Heart of England is part of a national YMCA Federation that is the largest and oldest youth charity in the world. YMCA Heart of England chief

executive Alan Fraser said: “We have already been sharing back office functions and executive leadership for two years and we have made significant efficiencies in our operations by doing so. “Our intention now is to start expanding our local service offers across the whole area of Birmingham, Solihull, Coventry and Warwickshire so that we can deliver more and better services to young

people and communities. “The merger will make us stronger than either

association would have been individually, and so better able to maintain our stability in these challenging times.”

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