Joanne Grange

A Lichfield charity could be forced to dissolve if the Government’s stance on coronavirus is not formalised, a councillor has claimed.

Cllr Joanne Grange, an independent representative on Lichfield District Council, said the Curborough Community Centre’s insurance policy was unlikely to cover it if it can no longer stay open.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined new social isolation measures yesterday (16th March) as part of plans to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19.

He urged people to avoid social gatherings, but did not officially ban them.

Cllr Grange said a lack of clarity had put the centre – which hosts local community groups and clubs – at real risk.

Curborough Community Centre logo

“Reading Curborough Community Centre’s insurance policy and I think unless there is an official edict we may also struggle to claim on the business continuity insurance.

“We’ve got four part time staff to think about, people who receive vouchers for the food bank and people who are otherwise socially isolated even without COVID-19.

“We may have no choice ultimately other than to dissolve the charity if alternative measures can’t be found.

Cllr Joanne Grange, Lichfield District Council

Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant has confirmed he will be taking up the issue with the Secretary of State.

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6 Comments

  1. Just to put this in context, there is no immediate threat to the ongoing existence of the Community Centre because there are sufficient reserves to get through the next few months, but as a responsible accountant I need to think about contingency plans for what would happen if there was an extended period where operations had to be curtailed. The Government advice that people should “avoid” social gatherings is, in effect, a closure without instruction – if we don’t have people through the door we have no revenue. We are insured against risks (including business continuity), but people simply staying away and choosing not to use our venues (and following the official advice) is not an insurable risk. If the Government instructs closures (rather than simply telling people to stay away), the business continuity insurance will come into play.

    This is the same issue that will face entertainment venues, restaurants, pubs etc. A lack of customers means no revenue. If that lack of revenue is a result of instructed public health measures being taken in line with official instruction, insurance cover will apply. Without official instruction it maybe won’t.

  2. From comments made this morning it would seem the insurance industry are distancing themselves from liability arising from this epidemic. As ever with insurance you are only offered an umbrella when the sun shines.

  3. ABI have issued statement saying standard business interuption cover does not include forced closure by authorities. At least bookies pay out when you win.

  4. I agree with Philip, again (I know!), from what I have read, even forced closure wouldn’t invite a claim against business continuity, due to the nature of the issue.

    That said, it does not mean that I do not think the government should be looking to secure all businesses, community centre, charities et. al. during this crisis.

    The billions wasted on Brexit are looking pretty silly now.

  5. As is the spending on HS2 Darryl.
    Thanks for clarifying Joanne, and wishing the Community Centre all the best. A vital resource in the community. They will be needed more than ever in these uncertain times.

  6. Darryl,
    Interesting there is no coordinated policy in the EU to combat the existential threat this virus represents. A bit like my umbrella analogy, lots of legislation when things are going well but your on your own and borders are re-established and self interest is predominant when somthing like this occures.
    On the support of business, it is improbable many will survive a prolonged period of inactivity. Government grants (minimal) and loans will not sustain them for long and loan debts will inevitably make many untenable. Even those with insurance cover (If they will pay) will only be supported for a short time.
    We are experiencing a whole new set of problems both in health and society. At this stage there is no real indication of how prolonged it might be or what the long term consequences are likely to be. It really requires careful strategic planning. It is salitory to think that we can be brought to our knees by somthing that was a disaster waiting to happen. Humankind seems to have a propensity for creating such situations.

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