Agenda West

CHECKACO NEWS UPDATE: Countdown to the end of funeral plan fraud on 29th July: regulator names firms YOU SHOULD NOT buy plans from (and lists ones they’ve approved of)

Following the scandal of the collapsed Safe Hands funeral plan company the Government’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have published the names of two firms to avoid.

The warning comes ahead of the deadline when all firms in the lucrative sector must be regulated by law. Any that fail to be registered will be banned from trading – but until July 29th, 2022, when the regulations start anyone can offer the public funeral plans.

The FCA name Empathy Funeral Plans UK Limited and Unique Funeral Plans as two firms to steer clear of. They said: “We have been clear for some time that people should avoid buying new plans from funeral plan providers that have not applied for authorisation or had their application withdrawn or refused. We are repeating this guidance and strongly advise that you do not buy a plan from Empathy (Empathy Funeral Plans UK Limited) or Unique (Fox Milton & Co Limited, trading as Unique Funeral Plans).

There are nearly two million people who have taken out pre-paid funeral plans with some 65 companies paying on average around £4,000 each in the UK with an estimated 200,000 new plans sold every year. It’s a growing market but without regulation (declined by David Cameron’s Government in 2000) it has become something of a free for all since anyone can set up a company offering so-called peace of mind plans.

From 29 July, all funeral plan providers will need to follow new FCA rules, which include a ban on cold calling and commission paid to intermediaries, and high standards on governance and financial resilience. Funeral plan holders will be able to refer complaints about a firm to the Ombudsman and will be covered by the FSCS if their provider goes out of business. 

Emily Shepperd, Executive Director of Authorisations at the FCA, said: “As this sector approaches regulation, we want to provide holders of pre-paid funeral plans with some reassurance, which is why we have published a list of the firms we intend to authorise.  

“Our regulation will lead to higher standards in the market and boost consumer protection. We want to see an improvement in the way customers are treated, with better value products, better sales practices and better controls in place so consumers can be confident they will receive the funeral they expect.”

The FCA are still looking at a small number of firms but in the meantime have published a list of companies that will abide by the rules from the 29th of July: 

Alternative Planning Company Limited  

Avalon (Europe) Limited  

Avalon Trustee Company Limited  

Celebration Of Life Planning Ltd  

Central England Co-Operative Limited  

Co-Op Funeral Plans Limited  

Crystal Cremations Ltd  

Dignity Funerals Limited   

Distinct Funeral Plans Limited  

Ecclesiastical Planning Services Limited  

F A Albin & Sons Limited  

Family Funerals Trust Limited  

Freeman Brothers (this includes Peter Christopher Freeman and Bridgid Mary Freeman)  

Golden Charter Limited  

Golden Leaves Limited  

Haven Personal Funeral Plans Ltd  

Independent Funeral Planning Services Ltd  

Low Cost Funeral Limited T/A Affordable Funerals (this includes Memoria Limited)  

Peace Burials Limited  

Plan With Grace Limited  

Pure Cremation Planning Ltd  

Southern Co-Operative Funerals Limited  

The Independent Family Funeral Directors Ltd (this includes Fosters Family Funeral Directors)  

William Alty & Sons Limited 

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: As crypto currencies crash fears are raised that some are in effect Ponzi Schemes as industry is defended on TV

Posted on by Harry Mottram Edit”CHECKACO NEWS: As crypto currencies crash fears are raised that some are in effect Ponzi Schemes as industry is defended on TV”

Last November the Bitcoin was on a high as the new crypto currencies appeared to enjoy financial stability suggesting they were a new way to get rich by investing in them.

Eight months later and Bitcoin has halved in value, Celsius Network has frozen withdrawals, TerraUSD is now valueless, while Ethereum one of the big currencies in the field has plunged in value.

Investors in some currencies have potentially lost their entire investment while others have seen what they put in devalue to almost worthless amounts.

The advice from Checkaco has and always will be don’t invest in any scheme unless you can afford to lose everything. Many commentators have likened cryptocurrencies to Ponzi Schemes in that they suck in huge amounts of money only for the bubble to burst. They criticise the advocates of the currencies as the sector is unregulated and is not based on anything tangible like property, oil, gold etc.

Bitcoin is still the largest of the crypto currencies with a crowded market of similar types, number around 19,000 with some worthless and others claiming to be increasing in value. The cause of the collapse in value of many of these currencies has been the bear market in the traditional stock markets triggered in part by the Ukraine war. Those declines though are tiny compared to wild volatility of the virtual ones so the message is if you want stability stick with the tried and tested and indeed regulated.

Michael Saylor, the CEO of MicroStrategy didn’t help matters when challenged this week on CNN by Julia Chatterley by attempting to liken the creation of cryptocurrencies to the invention of the motor car and admitted ‘average investors’ had been taken advantage of. Writing for the Guardian Professor Robert Reich likened the currencies to Ponzi Schemes where the people who start them become rich while the newest investors at the bottom are most likely to lose out.

He said: “Before the crypto crash, the value of cryptocurrencies had kept rising by attracting an ever-growing number of investors and some big Wall Street money, along with celebrity endorsements. But, again, all Ponzi schemes topple eventually. And it looks like crypto is now toppling.”

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: car insurance scam targeting young drivers with fake insurance

Posted on by Harry Mottram Edit”CHECKACO NEWS: car insurance scam targeting young drivers with fake insurance”

Young and vulnerable motorists are being sold cheap fake car insurance by fraudsters on an industrial scale through social media.

Victims typically see an advert for car insurance considerably lower than £2,000 for a typical Ford Fiesta from a reputable insurance company and ask for a quote from a fraudster posing as a broker.

The broker uses forged paperwork from a well-known company and gives the victim a huge discount which they sign up to and pay their premium in one payment.

It is only when the new driver is stopped by the police or are involved in an accident that they realise they don’t have any insurance.

Action Fraud said that thousands of people fall for the scam each year losing all of their cash as it is often weeks or months before they realise, they’ve been had. IFB Insurers believe 21,000 such policies have been linked to the scam while there are almost many more people driving around today ignorant of the fact their so-called insurance are worthless.

How to avoid ghost brokers

If a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Ghost brokers often advertise on student websites or money-saving
forums, university notice boards and marketplace websites such as Gumtree. They may also try to sell insurance policies to you through adverts in pubs, clubs or bars, newsagents and car repair shops.

Be wary of brokers using only mobile phone or email as a way of contact. Ghost brokers have even been
reported using messaging apps, including WhatsApp, Snapchat and Facebook. Fraudsters don’t want to be
traced after they’ve taken money from their victims.

If you are not sure about the broker, check on the Financial Conduct Authority or the British Insurance Brokers’ Association website for a list of all authorised insurance brokers: register.fca.org.uk and biba.org.uk

You can also contact the insurance company directly to verify the broker’s details.

You can check to see if your car is legitimately insured on the Motor Insurance Database website: ownvehicle.askmid.com

If you think that you’ve been a victim of a ghost broker, you can report your concerns to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk or on 0300 123 2040.

You can also contact the Insurance Fraud Bureau via its confidential Cheatline on 0800 422 0421 or at insurancefraudbureau.org


Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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ICSM Business News: six major firms reported to be targeted by short sellers in a retail trade article – could the unthinkable be about to happen?

By Harry Mottram: The trade publication Retail Gazette has listed six retailers that they say have been the target of short sellers. That inevitably has raised eyebrows in the retailing sector since the high street has gone through fundamental changes since the rise of home shopping, covid and changes in lifestyles.

Short selling is perhaps best described in the 2015 movie The Big Short with Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling and Christian Bale in which a small group of city traders realise ahead of the 2008 Credit Crunch that the housing and banking markets are about the collapse in the USA. They buy stocks from the banks and lenders and bet against their collapse before the sub-prime mortgage scandal develops. They get paid the difference between the before and after prices by the banks – which is short selling. Short selling is effectively a sign that the traders believe a stock is over priced as that is the way they make their money.

That’s why when the Retail Gazette published the story anyone with a financial interest in the retailers mentioned need to think seriously about its potential implications. It beggars the question: could the unthinkable be about to happen?

Reporter George Iddenden wrote: “According to data from the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Asos, Boohoo, Kingfisher, Royal Mail, AO World and Naked Wines are all being targeted by short sellers and should be wary of further shifts over the coming months.

“Aggressive or excessive stock shorting is widely recognised as a way to undermine investor confidence, depress a company’s market value and make it more difficult for it to expand or raise capital.”

Iddenden explained all of the firms listed had problems – some caused by debt and some from the Covid hangover but all with falls in their market value. Short sellers are taking big risks in shorting with a lot of money and so anyone who has an interest in those firms need to take note.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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OPINION: inflation, strikes and a stagnant economy – no it’s not back to the 1970s it’s worse than that because of these reasons

Commentators and politicians have cited this year as being a return to the 1970s but this is a poor analogy as society and industry was very different then. It could be argued now it is worse as there are several intractable issues. 

Firstly, the labour market is very different now with a greater number of older people of whom the majority do not work and don’t add to the nation’s exchequer by paying income tax. In the 70s there were more secure jobs – sometimes jobs for life. Now that would be nice without the ever present fear of ‘down-sizing.’

Inflation hit 22.5% in 1975 but it may surprise many that inflation was in single digits going into the decade rose sharply in the middle before coming under control by 1978 before peaking again at the end of the decade. There were three Governments in the 70s – Conservative, Labour and Conservative – so it is hard to lay the blame on one or the other.

Like the early 70s there was an oil crisis when Middle East war saw prices hiked as they have been over the Russian Ukraine conflict. Then many economies still used coal to generate electricity but today the ecological crisis has seen a move away from fossil fuels leaving the UK and other western nations vulnerable to the cutting of Russian oil and gas. In the 1970s after the Middle East war it was more a fuel shortage that was the problem rather than the eye-watering price rises of today.

Today’s GDP is lower in real terms compared to the 1970s when we still have a strong manufacturing sector. Steel producing, coalmining, ship building, and nationally owned transport and utilities meant the economy was sounder (if as many will argue – less efficient) than today’s free markets.

In the 1970s both Ted Heath’s Conservative administration and the Labour Government both had a policy of full employment. The idea we had to rely on Romanians and Latvians to help harvest fruit and veg, drive delivery vans or care for the elderly wasn’t even thought of. Those workers were locked in behind the Iron Curtain. Unless we can access large numbers of workers from abroad then the crisis of a lack of workers will continue and those in jobs who see their wages degraded by inflation will increasingly take industrial action.

This year there has been a huge rise in business insolvencies – in part due to the hangover from the pandemic but even before that the numbers of firms going out of business was massive. Back to the 1970s and there were far fewer business insolvencies, in part due to there being fewer small and medium sized firms and less self-employed. If we could return to the levels of lower business failures of those times, then the Insolvency Service would be delighted and there would be fewer bankruptcies as a whole – and fewer lives damaged by debt and redundancy.

Stagflation is now being warned about – but so far one of the worst aspects of the 1970s is yet to appear in today’s troubled times. That’s a combination of a declining economy and high inflation. That is one aspect of the 1970s that can be seen as a potential parallel to today.

So, a strange mixture of factors – and it helps to remind us all that no two recessions are the same. The 1970s were so different economically, the 1980s boom and bust were coupled to a rise in house prices and privatisation, the dip in the early 1990s was a hangover from the last downturn of the 80s and then there was the credit crunch of 2008-09.

It may be an unfashionable idea for some, but the policy of John Maynard Keynes is one solution: invest in infrastructure to trade our way out of recession. Duelling trunk roads like the A303, reopening more railways lines and stations plus the electrification of more lines – and the extension of HS2 will all create more jobs and business. And there are many more projects which would make a huge difference if implemented – from urban tram systems to upgrading and rebuilding NHS hospitals or state schools.

And again, not a popular course for some but the Conservative MP Tobias Elwood’s suggestion of re-joining the EU single market makes a lot of sense.  It would reopen trade, solve the Northern Ireland protocol, end the queues at Dover and airports and bring in the workers needed in a variety of sectors.

At the moment entrenched Government positions and political ideological are hampering a recovery which most people in business find frustrating. So when politicians say today’s UK is like the 1970s – they are talking nonsense. The 1970s also had the joys of punk rock and disco, films like Jaws and The Godfather, and it can be argued the beginnings of modern 21st century Britain began with equal pay for women, the children’s welfare act, the establishment of the Green Party from the old Ecology Party as the environment also got a Government department and during the 70s the numbers of homes without a shower, bathroom or central heating fell dramatically as the housing stock went through huge improvements. 

So the next time someone says it’s back to the 1970s – welcome the notion – but do look for a pair of flared trousers first.

Harry Mottram

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CHECKACO NEWS: New Amazon delivery scam highlighted by TV’s Martin Lewis

Posted on by Harry MottramEdit”CHECKACO NEWS: New Amazon delivery scam highlighted by TV’s Martin Lewis”

Martin Lewis. Pic: ITV

Scam alert

The Money Saving expert Martin Lewis has issued a warning over a ‘clever’ scam pretending to be from the Post Office about an Amazon delivery.

He said: “Beware. Just had a clever version of the ‘pay £1.99 for Post Office Parcel delivery’ scam text, aiming to steal bank info. The ‘fee’ isn’t mentioned in the text, it talks about “delays in transit” and offers “a date to reschedule”. It’s only when you click thru it mentions a fee.”

Checkaco have said that anyone receiving the message should forward it to 7726 for it to be investigated by Ofcom as the main aim is to drain the victim’s bank account. There is no delivery simply a criminal attempt to steal cash.

Checkaco have urged the Government to invest in catching the criminals behind this and other scams by increasing Action Fraud’s resources.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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ICSM BUSINESS INSOLVENCY NEWS: customers and creditors lose out as Teneo refuses to pay refunds or settle debts following collapse of Missguided

By Harry Mottram: It’s gone from bad to worse for customers of Missguided after it emerged the group running the defunct company will not be returning cash already paid to the online retailer. Public relations and advisory company Teneo have taken on the task of running the collapsed online retailer until the Fraser Group take possession of the business.

And for the suppliers the situation is equally bleak with some businesses hundreds of thousands of pounds out of pocket for providing clothing and accessories to the Manchester based online fashion firm.

Many shoppers had in good faith returned goods they had ordered but had paid for in advance expecting to be reimbursed by the administrators but were told they would not get refunds.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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ICSM BUSINESS INSOLVENCY NEWS: Ex-Newcastle United and Liverpool footballer Danny Guthrie hit by bankruptcy restrictions over financial irregularities

The one-time professional footballer Danny Guthrie has fallen foul of the Insolvency Service when they tackled him over his debts to creditors.

The service reported that in May 2019, Guthrie borrowed £75,000 from a friend to help him pay his household expenses, promising to repay the loan with funds raised from selling a property.

Incredibly he then blew £120,000 on gambling and chose to pay of those debts first from £160,000 he received from the sale of a property ignoring a string of creditors who needed to be paid. Taking cash out of his bank knowing he was insolvent was what tripped him with the Insolvency Service.

He accepted a six-year bankruptcy undertaking, at Stoke County Court, which runs until May 2028. The service placed on him several restrictions, banning him from borrowing more than £500 without giving details of his finances to a lender and restricting his ability to be a company director.

Kevin Read, Official Receiver at the Insolvency Service, said: “Danny Guthrie’s actions were deliberate in dissipating assets, at a time he was already insolvent, and to the loss of his creditors. This extension of bankruptcy restrictions should serve as a warning that the Insolvency Service will take action to tackle such financial wrongdoing.”

Guthrie played for Newcastle, Liverpool,  Southampton, Fulham, Walsall, Mitra Kukar in Indonesia and Icelandic second tier team Fram.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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CHECKACO NEWS WARNING: Scammers tricking people to enter false Father’s Day beer competition

Posted on by Harry Mottram Edit”CHECKACO NEWS WARNING: Scammers tricking people to enter false Father’s Day beer competition”

The makers of the lager beer Heinekin have appealed to the public not to enter a competition circulating on the internet as it is a scam.

Ahead of Father’s Day on Sunday, 19th June, a message has been appearing on WhatsApp offering the chance to win one of 5,000 coolers full of lager and links to a fake quiz-style competition.

The brewing company with its headquarters in Edinburgh and sites in England said it was a phishing scam set up by fraudsters to trick people into giving their bank details. The criminals behind the con then drain the bank accounts of the victims before they are aware they have been fooled.

It is a particularly nasty scam as it preys on the goodwill of the offspring of fathers who hope to win a big prize for the patriarchal figures.

Heinekin said anyone receiving the message should “delete it immediately”.

Heineken’s representative added: “We’re aware of the current phishing scam circulating through social networks, which is not sanctioned by Heineken. We have alerted the relevant authorities.”

Action Fraud – the police unit dedicated to catching fraudsters – said  that if you receive a random text or WhatsApp message from a brand that you discover is fraudulent, open up the WhatsApp chat from the unknown number, open the sender’s contact details and select Block and Report. Suspicious text messages could be reported to 7726, a free spam reporting service, as well as to the company the text was claiming to be from.


Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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National newspaper is shamed online by Jack Monroe and other freelance writers who claim they wait months to be paid – while the publication lambasts a culture of late payment

By Harry Mottram: The journalist Jack Monroe (pictured) has touched a raw nerve with scores of freelance writers and photographers after she tweeted in a claim about not be being paid on time by the Daily Telegraph for an article she had written.

In a post this week under a handle @BootstrapCook she wrote: “It appears I’m not the only freelance writer waiting literal years to be paid by the @Telegraph. If they also owe you money, drop the month and year of the article you wrote for them and let’s see if a public collective callout achieves more than dozens of polite invoices did.”

The tweet was quickly responded to self-employed writers and photographers who claimed to have had the same experience with some waiting for payment after years of sending reminders – or worse not being paid at all. James Oswald wrote in reply: “Good luck with that. I wrote them 1200 words that got used in a double page weekend spread a few years back. Never saw a penny.”

The Government’s website spells out the details of the late payment legislation

While professor Neil Martin said he was still waiting to be paid for a 2018 invoice and photographer Phil Robinson said he was waiting for a cheque for a January 2022 invoice. That’s obviously over the expected industry standard of 30 days from the day of invoice.

Why might you ask, does a newspaper who credits itself with being business-friendly and a champion of free enterprise and a supporter of the Conservatives would they not stick to the credit terms of their suppliers? The answer according to Brendan Gallagher who is waiting to be paid for covering the 2008 Olympics is ‘because they could.’

ICSM has no way of knowing if the claims made in the twitter feed are genuine or can be verified as being accurate but the newspaper regularly runs stories supporting prompt payment to its credit.

Jack Monroe is also a campaigner for social justice and champions the low paid and those living in poverty and often appears on TV and radio talk shows in that capacity so it seems odd that of all people the accounts department at the Daily Telegraph would be so slow in paying her. The author of Cooking on a Bootstrap and presenter of BBCTV’s Daily Kitchen Live has a high media profile only enhanced when she took the right-wing columnist Katie Hopkins to court over a libellous comment, winning substantial damages.

Ironically The Daily Telegraph has published articles recently by Dafydd Llewellyn, managing director of UK small and medium business at Concur on ‘It’s Time to Confront Britain’s late-payment Culture’ in 2017, and in 2004 Richard Tyler’s piece on ‘how the UK late payment culture is till thriving.’ And the newspaper has also claimed to campaign in favour of the Prompt Payment Code shaming firms that pay late by naming them.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM whose business group is dedicated to fighting late payment said there is often a disconnect between those who commission work and those who run the accounts section and it was always a good policy of having a good relationship with whoever signs off payments.

He said: “There are some basic rules to follow – firstly get something in writing if you are commissioned – ideally a purchase order signed by the editor or staffer. On your invoice and statement have your credit terms such as 30 days together with a reference to the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 which allows for 8% interest a year to be added to the overdue money.

“ICSM has hundreds of freelancers as members, and we offer free legal letters and also a micro debt service plus a debt collection service. Chasing up late payment through the courts can be time consuming and stressful so joining ICSM and using our knowledge saves time and heart ache. Every year we settle hundreds of over-due accounts for members from less than a £100 to tens of thousands.”

He said that due to the increase in late payments to freelance writers, illustrators and photographers from their clients ICSM is offering free membership for 2022.

ICSM has approached The Daily Telegraph for a comment.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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CHECKACO NEWS: Banks warn of scam loans as victims are asked for an upfront payment to access a cost of living pay out but get nothing

Posted on by Harry Mottram Edit”CHECKACO NEWS: Banks warn of scam loans as victims are asked for an upfront payment to access a cost of living pay out but get nothing”

The cost of living crisis is driving people into debt and the scammers are preying on the public’s desperate need for cash to pay energy and food bills.

Lloyds Bank are one of a number of banks who have issued warnings to customers after scammers have posted adverts online from fictitious companies offering cheap loans.

Victims complete online forms or respond to a phone number to the scammer who allows them to borrow huge amounts of cash with just a small upfront fee to secure the money. The scammers contact them to say a further fee is required as the loan is larger than normal at which point the victim either pays up or begins to have doubts. When no money is released into their bank account they realise they’ve been conned with the average victim paying up £231 for nothing.

Checkaco issue this advice: stop and think – is this a legitimate company with an address and a land line number. Challenge the suspected scammer – if they get unprofessional, they are fraudsters. Contact Action Fraud and report them at https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: Young fundraisers could lose all their cash as sustainable development charity Raleigh International goes bust

Posted on by Harry Mottram

Young fundraisers could lose all their cash as sustainable development charity Raleigh International goes bust

A charity launched by Prince Charles in 1978 has gone bust leaving up to 50 staff out of work and hundreds of young people in the lurch with their hard earned cash from fun raising lost.

Raleigh International is a so-called sustainable development charity linked the Royal Family and is seen by critics as the charity for the well-heeled who want to do their bit for the poor around the world. Both Prince William and Kate Middleton have taken part in the scheme in previous years.  Young people sign up and pledge to raised thousands of pounds to pay for their travel and accommodation in countries in Africa, Asia and South America where they will spend several weeks helping on projects to help struggling communities. Some 55,000 people have used the charity to help others around the globe with projects from building community buildings, digging wells and introducing innovative farming methods to remote villages.

Last week the charity suddenly announced they were ceased operations and entered Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation having appointed Carter Backer Winter as liquidators.

In a statement they said: “It is with enormous sadness that we report Raleigh International Trust will cease operating from Thursday 19 May 2022. Raleigh International Trust is inclusive of Raleigh Nepal and Raleigh Nicaragua. Raleigh Tanzania and Raleigh Costa Rica have independent status, and we are currently exploring the future viability of them operating without Raleigh International Trust.”

The charity blamed the effects of Covid cancelling a number of projects and trips and the reduction in overseas aid from Governments.

However, that is cold comfort for the hundreds of young people who have already raised tens of thousands of pounds ahead of their trips having sent their cash to the charity. All of that cash could now be lost.

The Times reported a typical case of a volunteer losing out. They quoted Rosie Giesler, 20, from Cambridge, who was due to fly to Costa Rica at the end of July for a ten-week sustainable development programme. She had raised £3,800 by the fundraising deadline on May 16, three days before the announcement. Another victim they reported on was Will Chubb who is only 17 and had raised £2,300 for the charity having also paid for vaccinations, flights and a visa for Nepal ahead of his now cancelled trip.

His mother was furious with the charity as they must have known things were about to collapse but still accepted cash from the volunteers. The Charity Commission said they were looking into the case and were in talks with the administrators.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Huge rise in insolvencies as firms struggle with debts and repaying Covid loans

By Harry Mottram: With furlough gone and covid loans overdue thousands of businesses are struggling to survive and hundreds collapsing every month. The effect on the economy cannot be underestimated as inflation edges towards double digits, interest rates rise and the continuing after effects of Brexit and Covid add to the woes.

The latest government figures show that in April 1,991 companies collapsed more than double the figures from 12 months ago and 39% up from 2019 for April of that year.

The Insolvency Service said: “In April 2022 there were 1,777 Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs), more than double the number in April 2021 and 74% higher than April 2019. Numbers for other types of company insolvencies, such as compulsory liquidations, remained lower than before the pandemic, although there were three times as many compulsory liquidations in April 2022 compared to April 2021, and the number of administrations was 51% higher than a year ago.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the figures mirrored information from the credit intelligence group’s members as anecdotal stories emerge of late payment and firms entering administration such as the YM Group in Yorkshire.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Reforming Insolvency Laws ‘can’t come soon enough’ as a court shuts down rogue Individual Voluntary Arrangement firm

By Harry Mottram: The customers of Vanguard Insolvency Practitioners (IVA) had no idea what they were being charged for as they commissioned the company to help them to negotiate their debts with creditors.

ICSM said the companies that used the IVA suffered a second piece of bad luck as not only were they in debt and struggling to survive but then were charged huge fees that had no details as to what they were for.

The Insolvency Service were tipped off that all was not right with the actions of the Vanguard Insolvency Practitioners and after investigations they took legal action against the firm eventually winding up the firm and its associates.

The Government’s Insolvency Service said in a statement: “The court heard that Vanguard was a ‘volume’ Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) provider that enabled people in debt to come to an arrangement with their creditors to pay all or part of their debts. Vanguard charged customers a fee for facilitating their arrangements, which were supervised by Vanguard’s licensed insolvency practitioner.”

The Insolvency Service said that Vanguard traded from 2016 and used third-party suppliers to help administer the IVAs and realise debtors’ assets. By April 2020 Vanguard had more than 14,000 IVA cases under its management. Investigators found that between August 2018 and June 2020, Vanguard made payments to various third-party suppliers totalling almost £9 million from their customers’ estates under the guise of expenses or disbursements.

They said: “Some of the third parties under a fee sharing arrangement would then make payments to MDN Consultancy and KIS Financial Consultancy, who were connected to Vanguard through close personal or family relationships. Further enquiries discovered that Vanguard’s licensed insolvency practitioner, responsible for overseeing the IVAs, did not properly explain to customers what their fees were being used for. Investigators concluded that Vanguard’s practices lacked transparency as did the activities of its licensed insolvency practitioner.”

Ian Carrotte said that reforms to the insolvency industry currently under review by the Government could not come soon enough as there were regular incidents of ‘sharp practice.’

Claire Entwistle, Assistant Director of Investigation and Enforcement Services for the Insolvency Service, said: “Following a complex and lengthy investigation, the court recognised the severity of Vanguard and the connected companies’ activities before closing them down for good. This sends a strong message to volume IVA providers that if they do not deal with their cases properly and there is evidence of abuse, we will take strong action to protect customers and stop them.

“The winding up petitions have not affected the position of any of the IVAs previously under Vanguard’s control. These were taken on by another provider some time ago and consumers should continue to make payments in accordance with the terms of their agreement. Any customers who are concerned should get in touch with their IVA provider in the usual way.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Concerns mount over the future of Lettershop as the landlord steps in at the printing firm’s Leeds site following the collapse of YM Group

The last month has seen one of Britain’s largest printing empires collapse into administration amongst recriminations, bitterness and the loss of millions of pounds, writes Harry Mottram.

One of the last parts of the YM Group that escaped the initial collapse has its future now in question after the landlord of Leeds-based Lettershop took possession of the factory site.

Writing for the trade website Print Week, journalist Jo Francis reported: “On 1 May an enforcement notice was posted on the factory stating that Learmonth Property Investment Co had entered the Whitehall Park site in accordance with its powers under clause 5.1 of the lease.

“Printweek understands that over the weekend Paragon Group – widely viewed as the most likely future owner of Lettershop – has been working urgently with FRP Advisory and the landlord to come up with a solution to the situation. It’s not known how much work in progress is effectively trapped in the factory.”

The reporter added: “Vehicular access to the site was also blocked off.” And: “A source close to the situation said they believed Lettershop was months behind with the rent.”

The trade publication has followed the demise of the YM Group with interest due to its size and the shadow of an even larger collapse of a similar company a few years ago when Polestar went under. The reverberations of that calamity also echo with YM as the company took over the loss making Chantry from Polestar in 2016 without according to Print Week without gaining assurances from the existing customers of an ongoing commitment to work.

ICSM have noted the downfall of the YM Group through its vast network of member companies engaged in the printing industry and its allied sectors as well as their clients who became increasingly concerned over print deadlines not being met.

Joe Francis in a piece on the collapse raised some of the questions of what went wrong. She noted the board of directors had two accountants in the shape of CEO Stephen Goodman and CFO Lee Richardson who one would have been able to spot trouble in advance. Somehow, they didn’t spot until the last minute there wasn’t enough cash to pay the 500 plus workers their wages this spring which heralded the final shut down. There was also the calamity of buying Chantry along with its press when there was not enough business to keep it running and finally the Daily Mail contract that was won only because they pitched an uneconomical price.

Now administrators FRP Advisory are in charge and will make a report to reveal the reasons, which ICSM believes will show a string of poor management decisions. A spokesperson for ICSM said this was a classic case of ego getting in the way of basic business sense which has resulted in suppliers and workers left unpaid.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST NEWS: The high risk of paying into a funeral plan – ahead of enforced regulation Safe Hands goes bust losing all the money their 46,000 customers invested in funeral plans

Reports that directors of failed funeral firm Safe Hands ‘helped themselves’ to £60 million trust money ahead of regulation being imposed has set alarm bells ringing in the industry.

On July 29, 2022, firms who offer pre-paid funeral plans will be regulated by the Government’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Those firms which decline to be regulated must cease trading. Ahead of the deadline there are increasing concerns that some companies will deliberately go bust taking with them the cash invested in them by their customers.

The concerns are genuine following the collapse of Safe Hands whose 46,000 customers will almost certainly lose all their money invested at an average of £4,000 a plan. Media reports have revealed a scandal in which the directors of Safe Hands cynically looted the £60 million pounds held in trust by the company paying themselves vast dividends and hiding millions in other investments and luxury lifestyles.

There are nearly two million people who have taken out pre-paid funeral plans with some 65 companies paying on average around £4,000 each in the UK with an estimated 200,000 new plans sold every year. It’s a growing market but without regulation (declined by David Cameron’s Government in 2000) it has become something of a free for all since anyone can set up a company offering so-called peace of mind plans.

Day time TV is saturated by firms offering customers to pay over several years for plans which mean their relatives won’t have to find the money to pay for their funerals. It’s a good idea for those who can afford it but without regulation there is no knowing that their money is safe if the firm goes into administration as promises made as it the case of Safe Hands to ring fence the funds were broken.

Now there is concern over other companies collapsing with their investors cash before July 29. Heavenly Services went bust in February leaving their customers without any cash despite having taken thousands of pounds in payment plans and there are increasing concerns over more of these companies crashing.

Checkaco’s spokes person said there are some tried and tested companies like the Co-op but if you are considering taking out a pre-paid plan then do a Checkaco credit check on them or wait until after July 29.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Warnings were ignored by the Government over Covid bank loans as The Times reveals billions lost in fraud

While viable businesses were shut down by the Government’s extreme covid shut downs in 2020 and 2021 fraudsters were setting up shell companies to claim Covid cash writes Harry Mottram.

ICSM has repeatedly highlighted the injustices of how legitimate firms were forced to close as their markets were taken away by the Government’s Covid policies. Millions were spent on PPE for hospitals which turned out to be useless to firms that had no history of supplying medical protective clothing while traditional suppliers were ignored. But the scandal of the Government granting loans and grants to companies to get them through the Covid Crisis has cost the nation’s tax payers eye-watering amounts of cash – now revealed in full by The Times.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said: “We have warned from the start that telling the banks they would not be liable if the loans were not repaid was a mistake. Anecdotally we have heard countless stories of companies being set up simply to claim the cash and then once the money is in their bank accounts they spend it on anything but maintaining their business. Cars, holidays, home improvements – we’ve heard it all. While long standing businesses have stuck to the rules and continued to battle through the lock downs crooks have been allowed to get away with day light robbery.”

George Greenwood and James Hurley of The Times have exposed some of the worst crimes committed by fraudsters who took advantage of the Government’s lax regulations. In an article published today by the newspaper the journalists wrote: “Border force officials have stopped people at airports across Britain ‘carrying large amounts of money suspected from coronavirus bounce-back loans’, a Home Office source said. Other recipients of financial support during the pandemic used the money to fund gambling sprees, home improvements, cars and watches, it has emerged.

“They are among dozens of company directors who have been disqualified after misusing the loans scheme that was set up to support businesses during the pandemic. In many cases the individuals took out the loans before immediately transferring the funds into personal bank accounts and spending the money on themselves instead of their companies.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM – the group dedicated to exposing potential company insolvencies and late payers so their members can avoid bad businesses – said the newspaper estimated £17 billion of the Government’s £47 billion bounce back loans would never be repaid. “An eye-watering £4.7 billion was lost to fraud,” he said, “according to The Times. Clearly fraud is something that potentially happens with Government contracts – it’s a fact of life – but this is on an industrial scale. £4.7 billion would pay for four new state of the art hospitals – with plenty of cash left over to help fund Action Fraud.”

The Times reported:

  • A gambler used a £50,000 bounce-back loan to fund poker games after claiming his company turned over £200,000, even though he only had £2.72 in his account.
  • One businessman breached scheme rules by securing more than ten pandemic loans for companies in the same corporate group.
  • A sandwich shop owner received a £35,000 loan for his business before using it to fund the refurbishment of his garden, gambling losses and a new business that went bust within six months.
  • A pub landlord paid himself £30,000 after claiming one of the business loans in “consultancy fees”.
  • A soft drink company owner inflated his firm’s turnover by 100 times on his application to get a maximum £50,000 loan.
  • A restaurant owner was able to get a loan after having already been evicted from his premises for not paying rent.

For the full article visit https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/suitcases-of-covid-loan-cash-seized-at-uks-borders-wcnnjd7r8

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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CHECKACO NEWS: check out the builders first if you plan to use them to construct an extension on your home (or you could end up with £100,000 bill like this MP)

Many people have engaged builders to extend their homes after being stuck inside with the Covid lockdowns and a need to work from home and create a professional office space.

Having an extension can increase the value of your home and create more space making it a more attractive place to live – but beware. Engaging a building firm with a dodgy record of work is bad enough but one with financial problems could leave you high and dry financially. Always check out a limited company with Checkaco to find out if they are either going to go bust on you taking your cash with them – or simply disappear with your hefty deposit.

One such case came to prominence this year with the MP for Wyre Forest Mark Garnier explained how building work on his home took five years instead of the six months promised and a bill of £100,000.

The Daily Mail spoke to him about the case. He said: “It started well and the standard of work was OK. But it soon became clear it would take much longer than we’d expected, and the two builders quickly dropped to one when the junior got fed up with his working conditions. When the work was overdue by four months, they had barely finished half the contract. They stopped taking our calls and when we went to visit the project manager’s home, he refused to see us.

“Eventually, the site was completed to a basic level, with no extension and large parts left undone. That’s when the real nightmare started. They presented us with a mostly fictitious six-figure bill. We engaged a legal team to challenge it but, at each turn, the builders made up more charges.”

He said that after five years and sleepless nights they ended up with a legal bill of £100,000.

It just goes to show how things can go wrong if you choose the wrong builder. The main causes of bad builders are either a lack of professionalism or financial issues. Unprofessional builders can be weeded out through recommendations and qualifications, but financial problems are easier to hide. That’s where Checkaco comes in as a quick check with the firm will reveal County Court Judgements (CCJs), struck off notices and a credit history that should make you run for the hills.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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BROKE: The return of Crown Preference scuppers more Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) as the Government seeks to claw back unpaid tax from insolvent companies – and everyone loses out

It appears the vogue for Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) have fallen out of fashion – not because of a new way to save an insolvent company – but because the authorities have insisted on unpaid tax being settled in full when a firm goes bust writes Harry Mottram.

Writing for Accountancy Age Stewart Perry pointed out: “CVAs are a consensual insolvency process. The directors of the company propose to its creditors a resolution of the financial difficulty in which it finds itself. This can take any shape but frequently involves the introduction of more equity, in return for which creditors agree to receive less than they are entitled to in full and final satisfaction of their claims. If more than 75 percent by value of unsecured creditors agree to the proposal, it can bind the dissenting 25 percent. There are saving provisions for secured creditors (who cannot be affected without their consent), and preferential creditors (who must be paid in full before unsecured creditors receive anything, again unless they consent).”

But in the 2018 budget the Government decided too much tax was being written off in CVAs. Essentially secured creditors would get much of what they were owed – such as lenders and banks – but unsecured creditors would at least get some of what they were owed including the taxman. With Crown Preference the taxman must be paid in full from whatever is left of an insolvent company’s assets – meaning most unsecured creditors will get little or nothing – and nobody would vote for that in a CVA.

Tax owing includes the employees’ National Insurance and tax liabilities that have not been paid, VAT and any tax such as corporation tax that is unpaid. Ian Carrotte of ICSM said: “It’s been called the law of unintended consequences as with a fall in CVAs the taxman will get even less than before as insolvent firms will simply be liquidated. Take for instance recent stats from the Insolvency Service. For the last 12 months there were only 115 CVAs which was less than one percent of the total corporate insolvencies. That’s down from 2019 by two thirds. That means fewer firms are saved and less cash goes to the taxman.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Warnings were ignored by the Government over Covid bank loans as The Times reveals billions lost in fraud

While viable businesses were shut down by the Government’s extreme covid shut downs in 2020 and 2021 fraudsters were setting up shell companies to claim Covid cash writes Harry Mottram.

ICSM has repeatedly highlighted the injustices of how legitimate firms were forced to close as their markets were taken away by the Government’s Covid policies. Millions were spent on PPE for hospitals which turned out to be useless to firms that had no history of supplying medical protective clothing while traditional suppliers were ignored. But the scandal of the Government granting loans and grants to companies to get them through the Covid Crisis has cost the nation’s tax payers eye-watering amounts of cash – now revealed in full by The Times.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said: “We have warned from the start that telling the banks they would not be liable if the loans were not repaid was a mistake. Anecdotally we have heard countless stories of companies being set up simply to claim the cash and then once the money is in their bank accounts they spend it on anything but maintaining their business. Cars, holidays, home improvements – we’ve heard it all. While long standing businesses have stuck to the rules and continued to battle through the lock downs crooks have been allowed to get away with day light robbery.”

George Greenwood and James Hurley of The Times have exposed some of the worst crimes committed by fraudsters who took advantage of the Government’s lax regulations. In an article published today by the newspaper the journalists wrote: “Border force officials have stopped people at airports across Britain ‘carrying large amounts of money suspected from coronavirus bounce-back loans’, a Home Office source said. Other recipients of financial support during the pandemic used the money to fund gambling sprees, home improvements, cars and watches, it has emerged.

“They are among dozens of company directors who have been disqualified after misusing the loans scheme that was set up to support businesses during the pandemic. In many cases the individuals took out the loans before immediately transferring the funds into personal bank accounts and spending the money on themselves instead of their companies.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM – the group dedicated to exposing potential company insolvencies and late payers so their members can avoid bad businesses – said the newspaper estimated £17 billion of the Government’s £47 billion bounce back loans would never be repaid. “An eye-watering £4.7 billion was lost to fraud,” he said, “according to The Times. Clearly fraud is something that potentially happens with Government contracts – it’s a fact of life – but this is on an industrial scale. £4.7 billion would pay for four new state of the art hospitals – with plenty of cash left over to help fund Action Fraud.”

The Times reported:

  • A gambler used a £50,000 bounce-back loan to fund poker games after claiming his company turned over £200,000, even though he only had £2.72 in his account.
  • One businessman breached scheme rules by securing more than ten pandemic loans for companies in the same corporate group.
  • A sandwich shop owner received a £35,000 loan for his business before using it to fund the refurbishment of his garden, gambling losses and a new business that went bust within six months.
  • A pub landlord paid himself £30,000 after claiming one of the business loans in “consultancy fees”.
  • A soft drink company owner inflated his firm’s turnover by 100 times on his application to get a maximum £50,000 loan.
  • A restaurant owner was able to get a loan after having already been evicted from his premises for not paying rent.

For the full article visit https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/suitcases-of-covid-loan-cash-seized-at-uks-borders-wcnnjd7r8

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST: Beware of that invoice that arrives by email – it might be a scam

The bogus invoice

An email arrives on the family computer for a small amount of money from a DIY store requesting payment. Nothing unusual in that – in a busy life invoices come in for all manner of expenses and it’s always best to pay them promptly. Except this one, writes Harry Mottram.

The invoice in question is from Screwfix for £2.49. It looked genuine enough except I hadn’t ordered or bought anything from the firm nor had anyone else in my household. But I could so easily of paid it thinking I had a memory lapse or that it was such a small amount that it wouldn’t be a problem if a friend or relative had ordered whatever it was under my name and email.

But there was something odd about it so I checked with Screwfix and they said: “We are aware of a fraudulent email sent to both customers and non-customers stating it is an invoice from Screwfix.”

The fraudsters send out hundreds of thousands of emails in the hope that if only one or two percent of those that receive them pay up they will be quids in. But it is a fraud and totally illegal and once they have hooked a victim they will target them with more scams.

Action Fraud of the Police said: “Fake invoice scams happen when fraudsters send an invoice or bill to a company, requesting payment for goods or services. The invoice might say that the due date for the payment has passed, or threaten that non-payment will affect credit rating. In fact, the invoice is fake and is for goods and services that haven’t been ordered or received. If fraud has been committed, report it to Action Fraud.”

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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YM Collapse: workers left unpaid, anger at directors, calls for an investigation – and Printweek praised for keeping industry informed

The demise of three of YM Group’s print factories has been charted by the trade website and magazine Printweek with the comments from readers giving an added insight into the thoughts of those in the industry, writes Harry Mottram.

The publications reporter Jo Francis has kept readers informed during the slow car crash of the company from its securing of the Daily Mail contract last year to its collapse this spring. ICSM has echoed the news of the decline and fall due to having a large number of print and allied trades as members. The reasons for their joining the credit intelligence group is to avoid the fate of some of the suppliers of YM who have been left unpaid.

There is considerable anger across the industry in the way the YM Group was managed or rather mismanaged and in particular the manner of the collapse leaving workers unpaid and there was praise for Printweek’s coverage of the story.

Jo Francis reported: “FRP was appointed at YM Chantry, York Mailing, and Pindar Scarborough today (31 March). Around 600 jobs are on the line at the factories, based on YM’s most recent accounts, for the year ending 31 May 2020.”

The trade publication explained that YM’s backer Pricoa had refrained from bailing out the group resulting in workers left high and dry and a string of suppliers left unpaid. There was considerable anger over the way the workforce and suppliers were left in the dark about the potential collapse with suppliers receiving orders for goods when the company was insolvent.

One commentator under the name of johannesgutenberg on Printweek’s website said: “Strictly speaking, if the company is insolvent and it can be proved, the company should not be trading. Criminal charges can be brought.” The same writer noted: “In all honesty, like with so many other company groups in the past, the management were never there to make a go of the business. Only there to make a killing on large salaries, expense accounts and pilfer whatever they can before the game is up.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said there were similarities to the collapse of Polestar where the collapsed group left huge debts. He said suppliers must be cautious when receiving orders from a firm that is rumoured to be in trouble with evidence of County Court Judgements registered against a company. Another give away he said was taking a careful look at a firm’s published accounts where a long term trend can be spotted such as a year on year fall in profits and turn-over.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Pic: BBC

Parliament: Five recommendations to tame the ‘Wild West’ of the insolvency industry after scandals that have cost suppliers, workers, and tax payers billions

In Westminster, the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fair Business Banking have issued five recommendations to reform the insolvency industry following a number of high-profile scandals.

Sam Alberti of Accountancy Age reported how the APPG had investigated the industry and concluded that lax regulations had allowed for ‘intimidation, deception, dishonesty and even misappropriation of assets, all involving IPs supposedly performing their court-appointed functions.’

They gave examples that included KPMG’s handling of the sale of Silentnight to US private equity firm HIG Capital which allowed to deal to dump the firm’s pension liabilities and the scandal surrounding HBOS Reading, where two directors were involved in misappropriating more that £1bn.

APPG’s five policy recommendations

1 Rules to eradicate a conflict of interest forbidding Ips or insolvency firms to be appointed if they have been interested parties with the insolvent firm within the last two years.

2 A new single regulator with an ombudsman to replace the recognised professional bodies (RPBs), which also oversee the accounting and audit professions.

3 A new Insolvency Code of Ethics on a statutory footing, to enforce rules and punish transgressors.

A centralised database recording the outcomes of administrations so the industry can learn from past practices and improve efficiency in corporate rescue proceedings.

Rule changes to include barring legislative administrators from discussing or pre-agreeing strategies with appointing creditors, and removing banks’ veto powers, which currently grant the lender the right to choose an IP.

Sam Alberti of Accountancy Age added: “The report also suggests putting the obligation for an IP to seek solvent rescue is put on statutory footing, as well as extending new evaluator process to cover asset sales over £5m. Moreover, the government should re-consider extending the CIGA moratorium to financial contracts and imposing a statutory charge or levy over 5 percent of an insolvent company’s assets.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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CHECKACO NEWS UPDATE: the £3.2 million that Katie Price’s company owes in tax and to the public who paid for goods

Posted on by Harry MottramEdit”CHECKACO NEWS UPDATE: the £3.2 million that Katie Price’s company owes in tax and to the public who paid for goods”

Katie Price’s business is shut down owing millions to suppliers and members of the public who won’t get all of their money back.

Much has been written about the demise of the glamour model Katie Price’s business which as a limited company is a separate entity from her personally. For the record her company Jordan Trading Limited that ceased trading in 2017 owed the taxman £192,376 along with more than £25,000 to suppliers and members of the public. They lost out by ordering goods from her firm for items such as cosmetics and clothing. Liquidators expect them to get as little as eight pence in the pound.

The Sun reported some of the details that her firm owed including the fact she is unlikely to have to fork out £176,621 in tax.

Checkaco’s company checks have flagged up problems in the past for Jordan Trading Limited. The newspaper said: “The firm was put into voluntary liquidation five years ago with the 43-year-old’s total debts now up to £3.2 million and there are fears she may even lose her ‘mucky mansion’.”

A row broke out over the cost charged to the company by the liquidators Moorfields who claimed their fees were high due to the complex nature of winding up the business.

Katie Price tried to raise cash from sales from new lines such as equestrian goods under Dazzle in the Saddle, Scented By Katie Price, a children’s boutique Princess & Bunny and clothing and accessories under the DEPOP name.

The glamour model and celebrity is not the only famous face to use her name to sell to the public only for everything to go wrong with the public losing their money. Actress Lindsay Lohan’s club in Mykonos, Greece, collapsed within weeks of opening, the Kardashian’s promoted a debit card that was pulled within days of its launch due to its high fees, even Steven Spielberg tried his own submarine themed restaurant which failed and of course Donald Trump famously had more business failures than successes in the betting industry. All big names – all who took the public’s cash – so you’ve been warned – always run a Checkaco on a business before parting with large amounts of cash.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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German national Boris Becker arrives at court with partner Lilian de Carvalho Monteiro. Pic: Reuters for the BBC

Game, set and stash: when stashing cash away from the Insolvency Service and hiding assets as your creditors close in can end in court (and even prison)

By Harry Mottram for ICSM: The former world number one tennis player Boris Becker has been found guilty of hiding assets and cash from the authorities relating to his bankruptcy at Southwark Crown Court on Friday, 8th April 2022.

The case was bought against him by the Insolvency Service after he was charged with 24 offences under the Insolvency Act following his 2017 bankruptcy over a £3.5 million loan from the bank Arbuthnot Latham for a home Spain.

It reveals how he used his former company’s bank account to pay personal bills and maintain his luxury lifestyle after being declared bankrupt as well as hiding a number of assets and cash which he should have declared.

To avoid the bank debt he hid £700,000, transferred hundreds of thousands to his ex-wives, kept quiet about his German house and paid close to a million pounds from the sale of car dealership business to another business account in his name.

He was also found guilty by the court of several other attempts to hide cash and other properties but he was cleared of 20 accounts of hiding assets including the disposal of his tennis trophies. Becker will be sentenced later this month which could include a prison sentence.

The case reveals how trying to avoid paying debts – such as a bank loan – can leave you in serious trouble. ICSM’s spokesman said if he had come clean at the beginning it is possible that some of the debts would have been written off and an out of court settlement could have been sealed. He would not be the first sporting celebrity to go bust and his name alone would have meant he could have restored his fortunes with future work. The spokesperson went on to say it is a mistake to use a business account as though it is also a personal one and a bigger mistake to try and mislead the Insolvency Service.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Pic: Reuters

The UK arm of Russia’s second-biggest bank goes bust as more Russian firms are sanctioned with staff and suppliers hit

Within a few short weeks some of the largest Russian companies and banks have all but collapsed in the UK as sanctions cut the ground from beneath them writes Harry Mottram.

The British arm of the Russian bank VTB is reported to be appointing administrators after it was no longer able to pay its debts, its staff, its suppliers or its landlords due to the sanctions imposed over Putin’s War in the Ukraine.

Dozens of Russian companies have had their ability to trade frozen by the Government with the stock market freezing trade on 27 companies linked to Moscow alone. It’s led to a loss of value in most of the companies sanctioned with some becoming worthless since they cannot operate in the UK. CNBC reported that Sberbank was down 99.72% year-to-date to trade for around a single penny before the suspension, while Gazprom was down 93.71%, Lukoil 99.2%, Polyus 95.58% and EN+ 20.51%.

The Daily Mail reported that the VTB Bank would go into administration in a hearing at the High Court in London yesterday, (Sunday 10 April) when Judge Timothy Fancourt approved its application to appoint administrators. They reported: “He said Russia’s second largest bank was unable to function and pay its debts – such as rent owed – following Western sanctions prompted by the invasion of Ukraine.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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P&O Ferries: a massive PR disaster – when there were legal (and common sense) options to take to turn the firm around

Anger, frustration and incredulity are just some of the emotions created by the P&O’s decision to fire 800 staff from its various UK ferry routes last week writes Harry Mottram.

In a rare show of unity both Conservative and Labour MPs condemned the decision to fire and rehire their UK workforce despite the Government talking out a proposed law last year that would have prevented the practice.

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has declared the decision illegal and during a parliamentary committee meeting P&O Ferries boss Peter Hebblethwaite admitted the firm had broken the law by not consulting the unions.

He claimed that it was the only course of action that could save the firm from collapse explaining the ferry operation was losing money and was no longer viable. By replacing the staff with agency workers on far lower wages he said the firm could survive although it would be paying out £36.5 million in redundancy settlements.

However, the company had other options including calling in administrators to guide the firm through to solvency which may have seen cost savings in the shape of redundancies and scaling back of its services, a sale of assets, negotiating a negotiate a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)  or even finding a buyer.

The parent company DP World based in Dubai could also have continued to subsidise the ferries until business picked up following two years of losses caused by the Covid crisis. MPs pointed out at the committee grilling of Peter Hebblethwaite that DP World had spent £147 million on sponsoring a golf tournament and paying £270 million dividends to shareholders. In 2020 the firm lost £105m according to the accounts – reported The Guardian.

P&O have taken a massive public relations hit over the affair and could end up failing if the Government insists on their £11 million in furlough payments being repaid or they declare the ferries are not seaworthy and revoke their licences. There is also a possibility of a consumer boycott plunging their operation into further problems – while all the time the Danish firm Det Forenede Dampskibs-Selskab (DFDS) and Irish Ferries must be relishing the prospect that their rival for the Dover-Calais crossing is in crisis. Likewise, Brittany Ferries may also pick up trade from P&O with their cross-channel routes to west France – and Stena Line also have ferries connecting to Europe and Ireland from the UK. And of course, the Channel Tunnel may see more business as a result.

If P&O had taken one of the legal routes to solve their financial problems, then the fall-out (which could still include collapse) would have been avoided. It is a lesson in how not to handle massive losses for a business in an industry that should be able to survive as long as England remains separated from France by the English Channel.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST NEWS: beware of the fake aid websites claiming to raise cash for Ukrainian refugees – we list the ones to avoid and the official ones helping to save lives

Fraudsters are pretending to raise funds for Ukraine by creating websites using the name of the country in the title in an attempt to fool people into donating to them.

Unfortunately, all the money goes to criminals. Look out for these as they are fraudulent: help-for-ukraine.eu, tokenukraine.com, supportukraine.today, and ukrainesolidarity.org.

These and many more have been seen by members of the public with more being created every day to trick people into donating online. The Fundraising Regulator, the Charity Commission for England and Wales, National Trading Standards and Action Fraud have issued guidelines to the public who wish to donate online to the Ukraine refugees.

Data from Action Fraud reveals that £1.6m of the public’s money was lost to online charity fraud over the past year as non-existent charities and the fraudulent collections pretending to be from official charities scooped the cash.

The legitimate and most widely use websites for the Ukraine crisis are these:

Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)

https://donation.dec.org.uk/ukraine-humanitarian-appeal

Every pound given to the DEC is matched by the government, up to the value of £20m. You can donate at a Post Office, as well as directly. It includes The British Red Cross, Christian Aid, Action Against Hunger, Oxfam, Save the Children and many more mainstream charities.

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency

https://www.unhcr.org/news/briefing/2022/3/621deda74/unhcr-mobilizing-aid-forcibly-displaced-ukraine-neighbouring-countries.html

UNHCR has a long-standing presence in the region, including in Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania, and is coordinating the refugee response with other UN agencies and NGO partners, in support of national authorities.

The World Health Organisation (WHO)

Home

Home

https://www.ukraine.who.foundation/embed/#?secret=EY6mnTdcSD#?secret=PG9zMnT13C

The WHO Health Emergency Appeal for Ukraine supports vital healthcare to treat patients wounded by the conflict or those in need of vital care.

Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF) 

https://msf.org.uk/

(MSF) teams are working to deliver emergency medical aid to people still in Ukraine, as well as those now seeking safety in neighbouring countries.

There are more well established charities also support the refugees including ones for the Roman Catholic Church Cafod,  World Jewish Relief and the Orthodox Churches. Plus there are local collections and more well-known charities raising cash along with newspapers – but the ones above are the main ones for Ukraine especially the DEC.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: VAT fraudster arrested in Spain after nine years on the run

Posted on by Harry Mottram

Sarah Panitzke

Sarah Panitzke was arrested in Santa Barbara in Spain while walking her dogs this week. The unremarkable looking 47-year-old woman was one of Britain’s most wanted criminals having skipped the UK after being convicted of a phone tax fraud in 2013.

Born in Spain but brought up in England Panitzke was the bookkeeper and administrator to an 18 strong team of criminals. They bought large numbers of mobile phones abroad and sold them in the UK and elsewhere without paying any VAT or other taxes netting huge profits. When they were busted by the authorities they were estimated to have made £1 billion.

At the trial Panitzke was sentenced to eight years in jail and was ordered to repay £2.4 million to the authorities for her part in the tax fraud.

The National Crime Agency said: “She controlled the company accounts of many companies remotely via different IP addresses. Panitzke travelled extensively to further the fraud to places including Dubai, Spain and Andorra. She was responsible for laundering approximately £1billion.”

The rest of the gang were also convicted at the time and all given lengthy prison sentences and ordered to pay £111 in total as part of their ill gotten gains.

There’s an old saying there are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. The taxman in this case has finally got his woman.

CHECKACO ADVICE: if you knowingly buy a phone that you know has been imported without paying VAT then you are part of the fraud. If you suspect someone is trying to sell you a phone that you think has not paid the relevant tax then you should contact Action Fraud. See https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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ICSM on Company Voluntary Arrangements as retailer Ann Summers exits its CVA after increasing its online retailing

The retailer Ann Summers has returned to profit after a long stretch of trading under a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA).

With around 100 retail outlets the company has concentrated on building its online business after it stores were forced to close during the lockdowns. It’s turn around strategy has worked for the lingerie and sex toy business with an increase in sales of 9.3% up to June 2021 and a profit of £113.8 million. That followed a near collapse in the previous tow years with massive losses of £11.3 and £7.2 million for 2019 and 2020.

Those losses saw the firm teetering on the brink but opted for a CVA to protect the business from creditors in October 2020. It is understood that most of the stores will remain open following agreements with landlords to reduce or suspend terms of their leases or rent arrangements.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said CVAs can be a blueprint for survival for some retailers. “If their core business is sound then as long as they put into action a radical plan to make the company profitable then a CVA is the right course,” he said, “however although a CVA has to be agreed by the majority of creditors many suppliers will feel aggrieved that they do not get paid. Sometimes the debtor will give assurances that they will trade with the revived firm in the future to help redress the losses – but that is not guaranteed.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST NEWS: Russian businesses are in trouble and the Oligarchs have nowhere to berth their super yachts – concerns mount if they can pay their suppliers

A new situation has developed for businesses who are either Russian firms trading in the UK or are UK firms trading with Russia. Essentially the billion pound business has had been halted due to the sanctions over Ukraine war which has seen the West turn against the forces of Putin in disgust as the actions that have created the largest European war since 1945.

One casualty is the former Strictly Come Dancing business-woman Kristina Rihanoff who has had a backlash over her endorsement of Putin’s war against innocent civilians in the Ukraine (hurriedly retracted when she realised public opinion). According to The Sun newspaper her dance business is £500,000 in debt due to not being able to work normally during the pandemic.

Another Russian on the run is the incredibly wealthy Roman Abramovich who famously owns Chelsea FC in London. The owner of the club is thought to be close to Putin but suddenly changed the ownership of the business to the trustees of the club. They are seeking clarification as they are not sure about the move. It’s a mess as the Kremlin sycophant tries to save his reputation. His wealth is reported to be losing its value by several million since the Russian army invaded Ukraine.

The EU announced today Russian billionaires will no longer be able to dock their yachts in European docks and have added sanctions against a number of Russian individuals including Alisher Usmanov and Oleg Deripaska.

The net is closing but for those who trade with Russian businesses in the UK, but there is a problem as if the firms are in free fall as Kristina Rihanoff’s firm is then the question is will suppliers get paid?

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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How the Ukraine crisis will hit your business – and what you can do about it

The war in the Ukraine has redefined the world order – not just politically but economically as well. Back in the days of the Cold War there was a divide between the capitalist come mixed economies of the West and the Communist or state-controlled industries of the Eastern nations dominated by the Soviet Union.

Now the same seems to be happening as the West finally realise that Russia controlled by the dictator Putin wants to conquer whole chunks of Europe. It’s led to schism not seen since the end of the Second World War in 1945. Russian has been isolated due to its aggression and war crimes as it attempts to blast Ukraine into submission. But to cut off the Russian economy comes at a price to British industry and here are some of the costs coming our way which could see many firms struggle and others go to the wall.

1 Oil and Diesel prices

Already filling up a van at a motorway service station has seen prices go over £1.60 a litre while nationally they are not far behind while supermarket diesel is around £1.80 and rising. Petrol is closer to £1.50 a litre but is set to rise as oil hits the $100 a barrel and continues to rise. Every single delivery and every single sales rep shooting off to see clients brings a hike in overheads – and prices are set to increase further with the average saloon or small van being filled up for just south of £100. The rises are not just to do with the war in Ukraine although that’s sent the international markets into a panic as Russia produces around 10% of the world’s black stuff. Meanwhile under pressure from the Government BP has offloaded its 20% stake in Rosneft the Russian oil giant owned by the state slashing its potential profits and potentially jobs ahead of a further price rise as margins are cut.

2 Gas prices

Heating your office or factory is an expensive business and it set to become more expensive with gas prices rising in some cases by almost a third. Last year around 20 energy suppliers went bust as the prices hit the price cap set by Ofgem meant they couldn’t make a profit and with no reserves were insolvent. With a major hike last year prices this year are anticipated to rise according to Energy UK by 50%. Hot weather in Asia – gas is used for air conditioning – and cold weather in Europe has increased demand but the Ukraine war Russia is effectively being frozen out as a supplier to much of Europe meaning most nations are scrambling around to find new suppliers in North Africa and the Middle east – sending up prices. We get about 5% from Russia so we shouldn’t be short of the stuff – but prices are hitting all time highs despite all that gas under the North Sea. These kind of rises mean an average small office with just a couple of rooms will see a monthly bill of close to £100 – potentially rising to £150 this year or £1,800 per annum.

3 Exports and Imports

In the great scheme of things exports to Russia are nothing like as much as they are to the EU. In 2020 we exported £2.1 billion and imported £19 billion in goods with 40% from energy and 11% from non-ferrous metal. Around 4,000 firms trade with Russian but now that figure could be cut drastically – whether its refitting super yachts or exporting luxury cars – trade is set to all but stop.

4 Inflation

Already on the rise inflation is running above 5% and set to hit double digits potentially as oil, gas, diesel, food and just about everything else rises in prices – driven up by energy increases. That means your products or services need to rise in price if you are to keep up with inflation. In most cases passing on price rises may not be an option. Instead many in business look elsewhere to make savings. Salaries? Rent? Suppliers? It’s tricky – and will mean in reality inflation with hit the bottom line.

5 Interest rates

Spare a thought for the Russian consumer – they have interest rates now of 20% after the Rouble all but collapsed this week after the Western nations pulled the plug on many payment methods including the SWIFT scheme. The Bank of England is likely to hike rates in order to keep inflation under control. That means borrowing is more expensive and overdrafts gather increased costs. All of which hit business. The war may not cause interest rate rises but it is a factor in the Bank of England’s calculations. And that means businesses take a hit – as do consumers who have less cash to spend creating a spiral of stagflation.

Advice from ICSM

All of these factors mean it is more expensive to run a business. There are some basic decisions to make in order to stay solvent – and come out the other side when things improve as they will do.

1 Reduce costs with old fashioned insulation – draft excluders and insulating roof spaces – and turning down the heating and wearing a jacket indoors. Not popular with everyone in an office – but practical. Putting a tracker on company cars can prevent reps from taking the scenic route – shall we say. Cutting speeds by a few miles an hour on long journeys saves cash as does ensuring vans are not carrying unnecessary luggage.

2 If it’s a very small office then working from home can save a big cost – but for many this is not possible due to a lack of space. Many a business has started from a lock up or a garden shed – again no good for larger concerns although sharing space with a complementary business can work.

3 Sell off any surplus and hardly used kit and materials.

4 Consolidate working space for production to save money on rent and energy and if you own it lease or rent the extra room.

5 Check all you insurances, loans and utility bills and see if there is a cheaper supplier.

6 Try not to take on any new loans. If you have outstanding debts concentrate on paying them off first.

7 Shorten your payment terms for new customers to increase cash flow. Use ICSM’s micro debt service and our FREE legal letters to chase up long overdue payments. Most firms have many invoices that go unpaid and are written off. Don’t write them off as using ICSM you could be paid even if the invoices are years overdue.

8 Get tough with late payers – remember what happened with Carillion? They expected suppliers to wait up to 120 days to get paid – which meant when they went bust they lost four months of invoices. ICSM’s debt collection service brings in tens of thousands of pounds a year for members.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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CHECKACO News Letter

There was a time when you went a football match and paid a fiver as you went through the turnstile and maybe splashed out on a pie and a Bovril once in the ground.

Tickets for a Liverpool, Manchester City or Arsenal game are between £50 and £80 but if you choose a hospitality package you could spend up to £500 or more meaning it’s cheaper to go to the Royal Opera House in London and watch Tosca performed – knowing what the ending will be.

Buying your ticket from the football club is the safest way to buy – although you may find your chosen deal is sold out months in advance – and nobody seriously expects the likes of Spurs or Manchester United to go bust. However there are umpteen ticket sites run by unofficial companies who offer often cheaper deals from the official club prices. And that’s where problems arise.

Take for instance JM who lives in Germany and paid £890 to Seatsbay.com for three tickets to watch Liverpool play Arsenal in the Premier League this season. The match got postponed and the match was rearranged – but for a date JM couldn’t make. So, JM asked for a refund but was only offered 60% of the price leaving JM £356 out of pocket.

Writing in reply to the consumer in The Guardian, Anna Timms advised: “The law is unambiguous when an event is cancelled. The customer should get a refund. Rescheduling is one of those notorious grey areas. The now defunct Office of Fair Trading ordered football clubs to refund fans in full if they could not attend a rescheduled match. However, those who buy from unofficial resellers have fewer protections.

“Seatsbay says its refund policy is in its terms and conditions. “Refunds will not be issued if the date changes, as we spent time and money getting the tickets,” it says. “This is not something we try to hide, or that is written in small print.” In fact, the relevant clause is a line of small print half-way down the voluminous terms and conditions.

“According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), refund rights depend on the seller’s terms and conditions, but those which exclude a refund in any circumstances are likely to be unfair and unenforceable, while any deductions should be reasonable.”

Many unofficial ticket sellers have extremely unhealthy finances and may well have a chequered history with the authorities. A Checkaco check will spot if they have CCJs against their name or have other tell tale signs they may not be reliable.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Michael and Richard Coffey

Roofers sent to prison after ripping off elderly and vulnerable victims in and around Bristol

Brothers Michael Coffey, 29, and Richard Coffey, 25, both of Northwood Park, Old Gloucester Road, Winterbourne, in South Gloucestershire, have been jailed for ripping off elderly and vulnerable residents in Bristol for shoddy roof repairs.
They quoted low prices but once work began hiked the costs and demanded more cash netting £44,600 from their victims.
The duo received prison sentences of two years and two months and 18 months respectively, they are banned from being company directors and in July a hearing will decide whether to claim the cash off them under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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The programme was set to feature a so-called cryptocurrency millionaire

BBC 1 documentary shut down before it could be screened

Hanad Hasan claims he made £5.9 million pounds after investing £37 a year ago in cryptocurrencies last year. There’s an old saying: ‘if it sounds too good to be true then it’s probably not true.’

The BBC’s Cryptocurrencies are big business documentary scheduled for the BBC 1 We Are England slot on Wednesday, 9th February, focused on the story of a 20-year-old Birmingham man said to have turned $50 into $8m in 12 months. It was of course total nonsense, but the film makers fell for the the story just like so many members of the public who all want to be rich – ideally quickly.

The Guardian newspaper questioned the film makers when they pointed out that Hassan’s cryptocurrency outfit Orfano, was abruptly shut down last October leaving investors high and dry.

The newspaper reported: “The BBC swiftly said it had withdrawn the show but did not make any further comment on its editorial checks. An accompanying online article, which had featured prominently on the BBC News homepage, was also deleted without explanation shortly after the Guardian raised questions. Hassan has also been approached for comment.”

This failure is excruciatingly embarrassing for the national broadcaster since their journalists usually work to the highest standards. What it shows is the power of the conman selling dreams of riches via cryptocurrencies to the public – dreams that are just that.

Checkaco exists to burst the bubble of firms who pretend they can offer incredible value, low cost and guarantee returns above anything offered in reality.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Buying a flat through an affordable housing scheme should be a fairly straightforward transaction as you expect the administrators will have done all the necessary surveys and scrutiny of safety and paperwork. Not so as Haley Tillotson found out when she bought a flat in Leeds as reported by Sam Barket in the Mirror.

They reported: “Hayley Tillotson, 29, bought her ‘dream flat’ in Leeds through the Help to Buy Scheme aged 27. But six months after moving into the property she found it was clad with flammable material. Ms Tillotson could not afford the fire safety costs, and in 2020 she gave up the property. Hayley said: ‘Michael Gove’s new announcement only applies to cladding – not the interim measures which bankrupted me.’ She added residents have faced huge bills for other fire safety measures.”

The Government has introduced some financial help for leaseholders of flats in high rise flats who are left with hefty bills to remove unsafe cladding – identified following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 when 72 people died. However the plans have been criticised for have a number of loopholes including the height of a property is in a block.

The Daily Mirror said: “The Housing Secretary axed £50-a-month loans for people in “medium-rise” blocks to pay for fixing cladding. Instead, people in buildings 11-18 metres high will not pay a penny for addressing cladding issues after Grenfell. But that’s not strictly true. People are still having to pay for waking watches; non-cladding issues aren’t covered by the scheme; and people who’ve already doled out cash won’t get it back.”

Buying a property can be an expensive exercise which is why it is well worth doing a credit check on company if you are buying from a builder or a building firm or through any scheme run by a company. Last year hundreds of house builders went bust – owing customers (house buyers) and their suppliers millions of pounds – and in many cases builders went bust when they discovered the could be liable for compensation over flooding, lethal cladding or other major issues with the property.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Con man Shimon Heyada Hayut

Dirty rotten fraudster: outrage as Netflix exposes The Tinder Swindler leaving his victims millions out of pocket – and the Israeli con man is still free and flaunting his stolen wealth

Viewers of the current Netflix series The Tinder Swindler have been shocked by the way con man Shimon Heyada Hayut has relieved a string of women of their savings. Worse still the victims have taken out loans to gift the Israeli citizen so he can continue living a life of luxury – at their expense.

Known by various names including Simon Leviev the handsome criminal has created elaborate ruses to fool women into falling in love with him and to then help him out when his credit lines are stopped. Claiming his credit card has been rejected – despite being the son of a billionaire and heir to a diamond business – having gained the trust of the gullible women – he persuades them to temporarily loan him cash.

As Netflix screened the shocking details and tragic females duped by Shimon there was a backlash on social media as women viewers vented their anger on behalf of the victims. The normally flamboyant show-off reacted by suddenly taking a low profile and deleting his Instagram site. Normally he poses by private jets, in expensive restaurants or by flashy cars – but fearing for his safety Shimon has shown he is fearful of the army of angry viewers.

He has already shown his true self when one of his victims turned the tables on him by tricking him into giving her a temporary loan. Shimon pretended it had ruined him and he was living on the streets as he cried down the line to his female tormentor.

Incredibly the law has not taken a hard line on him despite fraudulently extracting more than £7 million from a number of women. He has been was arrested and charged with fraud, theft, and forgery and was sentenced to five months in prison in 2020 in Finland. Back in Israel Shimon’s notoriety may be his weakness as he is now internationally recognisable.

How did he do it? Shimon would shower the women he met on the Tinder dating app with expensive trips and fabulous gifts, using the money he had taken from his other victims. After a coffee and a chat he would take his victim off on a private jet to a five star hotel abroad – giving the impression he really was incredibly rich. Hooked – the women refused to believe anything else other than he was rich playboy who would give them a life of luxury. That is until he had fooled them into letting him use their credit cards.

If you think you have been a victim of a romance scam, do not feel ashamed or embarrassed – you are not alone. Contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101.



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Andrew Forrest. Pic: CNN

Australian mining billionaire takes Facebook to court over criminal use of his image to endorse scam investments

For years Facebook has been accused by high profile celebrities and financial influencers for failing to take down fake adverts using their name and images to endorse scam investments.

Now the Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest has decided to launch a criminal case against Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook for failing to delete fake adverts using his name and image. The BBC said Andrew Forrest argues Facebook breached Australian anti-money laundering laws over the spread of cryptocurrency cons.

Anyone from Harry and Meghan to Money Saving Expert’s Martin Lewis have been portrayed by scammers as testimonials advocating the public invest in schemes which turn out to be non-existent. The adverts are often designed to look like they are a news story on the BBC website, the Daily Mail and other well known media sites and as a result appear to be genuine to the untrained eye.

Few people in the world have the financial clout to take on Facebook but Mr Forrest feels he has a good case which could set a precedent if successful. Australia was the first country in the world to force Facebook to pay newspapers and news sites for using their news stories on Facebook.

So far Meta who own Facebook have not commented on the case although they say they take down scammers when they are notified of their existence. Mr Forrest said he is taking legal action not just for the rich and famous but for all Australians who fall foul of the scammers.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Beware being contacted by your bank as they could be scammers as happened in the case of the Kleinwort Hambros

Paul Lewis of the BBC Radio 4’s Money Box programme has revealed that members of the general public have been duped out of an astonishing £3.9m. The banking scam used the name of the Kleinwort Hambros to dupe customers into moving money from their real account into fake ones where the criminals could help themselves.

Chris Flynn of the Money Box programme said: “Criminals pretended to be from the legitimate private bank Kleinwort Hambros, convincing victims to transfer money to them using branded documents and names of real employees at the bank.”

Shockingly they reported 69 victims had lost £3.9m between them with one victim called Janet being conned out of £25,000 which incredibly the police won’t even investigate.

The programme on BBC Radio 4 reported that Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services, Matt Parr as saying: “These people shouldn’t be discounted. These are high-harm crimes. And it’s impossible to imagine, from my perspective, how those people are feeling with that kind of service.”

Checkaco understands that the police make a decision on whether to investigate based on what evidence there is and the likelihood of being able to charge someone. Victims should always report fraud to the police unit run by the City of London force at Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, run by the City of London Police who make the final decision about whether to investigate.

Mat Parr was clearly not impressed by the decision not to investigate any of the 69 case known to police – with the largest one being £465,000.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: be careful when buying from an unofficial ticket company for football tickets as your cash may not be refunded if the game is postponed – as shown in this case

There was a time when you went a football match and paid a fiver as you went through the turnstile and maybe splashed out on a pie and a Bovril once in the ground.

Tickets for a Liverpool, Manchester City or Arsenal game are between £50 and £80 but if you choose a hospitality package you could spend up to £500 or more meaning it’s cheaper to go to the Royal Opera House in London and watch Tosca performed – knowing what the ending will be.

Buying your ticket from the football club is the safest way to buy – although you may find your chosen deal is sold out months in advance – and nobody seriously expects the likes of Spurs or Manchester United to go bust. However there are umpteen ticket sites run by unofficial companies who offer often cheaper deals from the official club prices. And that’s where problems arise.

Take for instance JM who lives in Germany and paid £890 to Seatsbay.com for three tickets to watch Liverpool play Arsenal in the Premier League this season. The match got postponed and the match was rearranged – but for a date JM couldn’t make. So, JM asked for a refund but was only offered 60% of the price leaving JM £356 out of pocket.

Writing in reply to the consumer in The Guardian, Anna Timms advised: “The law is unambiguous when an event is cancelled. The customer should get a refund. Rescheduling is one of those notorious grey areas. The now defunct Office of Fair Trading ordered football clubs to refund fans in full if they could not attend a rescheduled match. However, those who buy from unofficial resellers have fewer protections.

“Seatsbay says its refund policy is in its terms and conditions. “Refunds will not be issued if the date changes, as we spent time and money getting the tickets,” it says. “This is not something we try to hide, or that is written in small print.” In fact, the relevant clause is a line of small print half-way down the voluminous terms and conditions.

“According to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), refund rights depend on the seller’s terms and conditions, but those which exclude a refund in any circumstances are likely to be unfair and unenforceable, while any deductions should be reasonable.”

Many unofficial ticket sellers have extremely unhealthy finances and may well have a chequered history with the authorities. A Checkaco check will spot if they have CCJs against their name or have other tell tale signs they may not be reliable.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Printing, sign-makers and hauliers hit by the collapse of retail chain stores in 2021

More shops are closing than are opening and the trend is set to continue according to the latest research by accountants PwC.

In a survey compiled by Local Data research for PwC 17,000 chain store outlets closed last year with a net loss of 10,059 outlets across Britain – the largest slide in the sector since 2014. The firm surveyed 200,000 retailers in High Streets, shopping centres and retail parks where a company owned more than five shops. It didn’t record the numbers of stand-alone shops that have opened or closed although the proportions are thought to be similar. It meant in the chain sector for the last two years in a row around 45 shops closed every day.

“This is bad news for all the companies that supply them,” said Ian Carrotte of ICSM, “a some of these chains closed completely leaving the staff out of a job and suppliers usually high and dry. The pandemic hasn’t help with a surge in online shopping and the working from home policy of the Government. Hopefully we will see a rise in footfall in the high street this year as without all those cafes, pubs, shops and chains stores there is fewer jobs and fewer suppliers.”

The main casualties have been in the high street with the lowest numbers of closures in retail parks, with fashion retailers seeing the largest number of closures followed by banks, convenience stores and charity shops. On the positive side there’s been an increase in take-aways, cakes hops and not surprisingly job centres.

“Independent shops, fashion retailers and convenience stores and small supermarkets need a lot of signage and point of sale items,” said Ian Carrotte, “so printers, and of course couriers and lorry firms are missing out if they close. Councils need to make town centre parking free or low cost and landlords need to free up leases to new businesses that will attract the public back. Shopping online only makes the likes of Amazon who pay little tax richer and traders poorer.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Sanjeev Gupta  Pic: BBC

Liberty Steel firms could collapse as they are served with winding up orders threatening thousands of jobs in England

The possible decline and fall of Sanjeev Gupta’s steel empire was described last year by ICSM’s Ian Carrotte as a ‘slow motion car crash.’ You can see it happening and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.

Winding up orders have been filed against four interconnected firms in the labyrinth of companies controlled by Gupta who was once seen as ‘the saviour of the steel industry.’ And it would seem it’s not just suppliers who have run out of patience with yhe embattled group as the taxman is owed in the region £26.3million.

The firms affected are Speciality Steel UK Limited, a division of Liberty Steel, along with Liberty Pipes, Liberty Performance Steels and Liberty Merchant Bar. Speciality Steel UK Limited has 2,000 workers in plants at Rotherham and Stocksbridge, whose jobs are now threatened if it goes bust. The main trade union has blamed the situation on GFG Group who own the company. GFG is controlled by Gupta and last year demanded the Government step in to save the steel making company from liquidation with a £170m grant. That was last spring – but finally it seems creditors have caught up with the business.

GFG was hit by the collapse of the disgraced Australian businessman’s and friend of David Cameron Lex Greensill whose company Greensill Capital was essentially factoring Liberty Steel’s invoices – except many of those invoices were found later to be fictional. Afterwards Gupta asked for a Government cash injection but this was refused as the accepted wisdom is the Government didn’t want to bail out a company that will eventually fail. Instead, many think they will wait for Liberty to enter receivership and only then step in to save jobs and seek a buyer or for a short time effectively nationalise the outfit.

“Once Greensill went down it was only a matter of time this would happen,” said ICSM’s Ian Carrotte, “as the company lost most of its cash flow. My concerns are for the suppliers to the four firms. Anyone from the cleaners to the haulage contractors could end up not getting paid. Anyone considering trading with the four companies need to think long and hard about credit. Once those winding up orders take effect banks will usually freeze accounts and they won’t even be able to pay themselves let alone outsiders.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Brexit border controls creating delays, increased costs and economic problems for the logistics industry (including liquidations) plus chaos for Northern Ireland

Whether you are a Leaver or a Remainer there is no getting away from the problem that is the Brexit Trade Deal. Hailed as a breakthrough in the UK’s post EU economic independence it has been a disaster negotiated by politicians who have no idea of how businesses run.

It’s led to the near collapse of the fishing industry, major problems for agriculture and manufacturing and a nightmare for hauliers and exporters alike. Delays, lost orders, ridiculous paperwork, unhelpful border officials and long queues outside Dover. And it has squeezed profit margins and even led to some firms going into administration or collapsing completely.

 Diamond Logistics told Carol Millet of the trade website Motor Transport that their trade had been severely hit by the trade deal. She reported on Natalie Wainwright, the Diamond Logistics group operations director, who said: “Brexit continues to be an enormous deterrent of trade to the UK thanks to problems at custom control. Our international trade is down 70%. This was primarily shipments from the European Union. Small businesses – like the many e-commerce retailers we are partner to – are being hit particularly hard.”

The increased customs checks are taking the average time taken to clear a truck through border control to 15 minutes – which has caused the long tailbacks on the approach roads to the port. Seemingly in denial of the problem the Government insist the queues are caused by an increase in freight transport to the Continent which flies in the face of their statistics which has seen fall in trade – down nearly 20% since the referendum and a sharp fall since the trade agreement came into force.

In Northern Ireland the trade agreement has not only had a hit on trade as the province is as far as business is concerned still in the EU with the border being the Irish Sea. Trade with the Irish Republic has not surprisingly increase but the barrier with the rest of the UK has seen tensions amongst the Unionist Community rise leading to the Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots announcing the suspension of the deal. That decision has been overturned by a judge, but the problems continue to mount up including sectarian activity.

The biggest losers are hauliers who are used to travelling backwards and forwards with few delays from England, Scotland and Wales to Northern Ireland or across the channel to the Continent. It is not yet possible to see how many firms have gone bust as a result yet – in comparison to pre 2019 – but there have been several casualties. They include recently Amica Distribution Limited, BD Transport (Norfolk), Mebenco Transports UK Limited, A&L Logistics Services Limited, Golden Fleet Logistics Limited, H & H Distribution (UK) Limited, Medley Davies Transport Limited, Raza Logistics Limited, Rossiter Haulage and Zago Logistics Limited.

Spare a thought for the drivers of the trucks waiting to board the ferries – some of the queues have been more than six miles this side of the Channel – but in France up to 20 miles.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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The programme was set to feature a so-called cryptocurrency millionaire

BBC 1 documentary shut down before it could be screened

Hanad Hasan claims he made £5.9 million pounds after investing £37 a year ago in cryptocurrencies last year. There’s an old saying: ‘if it sounds too good to be true then it’s probably not true.’

The BBC’s Cryptocurrencies are big business documentary scheduled for the BBC 1 We Are England slot on Wednesday, 9th February, focused on the story of a 20-year-old Birmingham man said to have turned $50 into $8m in 12 months. It was of course total nonsense, but the film makers fell for the the story just like so many members of the public who all want to be rich – ideally quickly.

The Guardian newspaper questioned the film makers when they pointed out that Hassan’s cryptocurrency outfit Orfano, was abruptly shut down last October leaving investors high and dry.

The newspaper reported: “The BBC swiftly said it had withdrawn the show but did not make any further comment on its editorial checks. An accompanying online article, which had featured prominently on the BBC News homepage, was also deleted without explanation shortly after the Guardian raised questions. Hassan has also been approached for comment.”

This failure is excruciatingly embarrassing for the national broadcaster since their journalists usually work to the highest standards. What it shows is the power of the conman selling dreams of riches via cryptocurrencies to the public – dreams that are just that.

Checkaco exists to burst the bubble of firms who pretend they can offer incredible value, low cost and guarantee returns above anything offered in reality.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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CHECKACO NEWS: Hidden repair costs and construction problems plus replacing dangerous cladding following the Grenfell Tower fire disaster brings financial ruin to home buyers as they face hefty bills

Buying a flat through an affordable housing scheme should be a fairly straightforward transaction as you expect the administrators will have done all the necessary surveys and scrutiny of safety and paperwork. Not so as Haley Tillotson found out when she bought a flat in Leeds as reported by Sam Barket in the Mirror.

They reported: “Hayley Tillotson, 29, bought her ‘dream flat’ in Leeds through the Help to Buy Scheme aged 27. But six months after moving into the property she found it was clad with flammable material. Ms Tillotson could not afford the fire safety costs, and in 2020 she gave up the property. Hayley said: ‘Michael Gove’s new announcement only applies to cladding – not the interim measures which bankrupted me.’ She added residents have faced huge bills for other fire safety measures.”

The Government has introduced some financial help for leaseholders of flats in high rise flats who are left with hefty bills to remove unsafe cladding – identified following the horrific fire at Grenfell Tower in London in 2017 when 72 people died. However the plans have been criticised for have a number of loopholes including the height of a property is in a block.

The Daily Mirror said: “The Housing Secretary axed £50-a-month loans for people in “medium-rise” blocks to pay for fixing cladding. Instead, people in buildings 11-18 metres high will not pay a penny for addressing cladding issues after Grenfell. But that’s not strictly true. People are still having to pay for waking watches; non-cladding issues aren’t covered by the scheme; and people who’ve already doled out cash won’t get it back.”

Buying a property can be an expensive exercise which is why it is well worth doing a credit check on company if you are buying from a builder or a building firm or through any scheme run by a company. Last year hundreds of house builders went bust – owing customers (house buyers) and their suppliers millions of pounds – and in many cases builders went bust when they discovered the could be liable for compensation over flooding, lethal cladding or other major issues with the property.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Con man Shimon Heyada Hayut

Dirty rotten fraudster: outrage as Netflix exposes The Tinder Swindler leaving his victims millions out of pocket – and the Israeli con man is still free and flaunting his stolen wealth

Viewers of the current Netflix series The Tinder Swindler have been shocked by the way con man Shimon Heyada Hayut has relieved a string of women of their savings. Worse still the victims have taken out loans to gift the Israeli citizen so he can continue living a life of luxury – at their expense.

Known by various names including Simon Leviev the handsome criminal has created elaborate ruses to fool women into falling in love with him and to then help him out when his credit lines are stopped. Claiming his credit card has been rejected – despite being the son of a billionaire and heir to a diamond business – having gained the trust of the gullible women – he persuades them to temporarily loan him cash.

As Netflix screened the shocking details and tragic females duped by Shimon there was a backlash on social media as women viewers vented their anger on behalf of the victims. The normally flamboyant show-off reacted by suddenly taking a low profile and deleting his Instagram site. Normally he poses by private jets, in expensive restaurants or by flashy cars – but fearing for his safety Shimon has shown he is fearful of the army of angry viewers.

He has already shown his true self when one of his victims turned the tables on him by tricking him into giving her a temporary loan. Shimon pretended it had ruined him and he was living on the streets as he cried down the line to his female tormentor.

Incredibly the law has not taken a hard line on him despite fraudulently extracting more than £7 million from a number of women. He has been was arrested and charged with fraud, theft, and forgery and was sentenced to five months in prison in 2020 in Finland. Back in Israel Shimon’s notoriety may be his weakness as he is now internationally recognisable.

How did he do it? Shimon would shower the women he met on the Tinder dating app with expensive trips and fabulous gifts, using the money he had taken from his other victims. After a coffee and a chat he would take his victim off on a private jet to a five star hotel abroad – giving the impression he really was incredibly rich. Hooked – the women refused to believe anything else other than he was rich playboy who would give them a life of luxury. That is until he had fooled them into letting him use their credit cards.

If you think you have been a victim of a romance scam, do not feel ashamed or embarrassed – you are not alone. Contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or via actionfraud.police.uk. If you are in Scotland, please report to Police Scotland directly by calling 101.



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Businesses face thousands of pounds in a hike in energy costs while Bulb Energy are bailed out by the tax payer with a loan of £1.7 billion

Every household in the UK is set to see a hike this year of £700 on average with many in badly insulated rented properties certain to pay a lot more. The costs have been loaded onto the populace due to increases in demand for gas and oil worldwide, as well as expanding and demanding markets in China and elsewhere around the world.

It comes on top of a rise in inflation with levels not seen in a generation with some products going up higher than the current 5% or so – with more hikes in interest rates to come as the Bank of England tries to dampen inflation.

During the lockdown at the height of the pandemic firms were offered furlough cash,  Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) , rural business grants and Bounce Back Loans. This time around with the Covid-19 virus still affecting the population there is no financial help – unless of course you are a troubled energy provider like Bulb Energy.

The company went into ‘special administration’ last year because it claimed it couldn’t withstand the increases in wholesale gas and power prices. More than 20 other suppliers crashed last autumn but when Bulb flickered and looked to go out they were saved as they were the seventh largest supplier with one and half million customers. Small fry were left to collapse by Ofgem but Bulb owed £254 million to its customers and a whole lot more to its suppliers.

Teneo were put in charge of finding a buyer but as rival energy firms went through Bulb’s books they all shied away from a take-over. The search for a buyer or a solution goes on while Bulb’s customers await to see who they will be switched to by Ofgem the energy regulator – whoever it is their bills will rocket. They include many in business who must be wondering when the crisis in the economy will end.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said firms need to look at costs this year and downsize if necessary, as the country’s economy looks set to return to a period not seen since the 1970s. “I’ve seen several down turns and recessions and my tip is not to plan too far ahead if you are thinking of expansion as your fixed costs will change. That is because we don’t know how much more energy prices will rise, including diesel at the pump, and we don’t know if inflation will rise to double digits. Keep things tight. The Government is not going to be forking out billions to the average business that’s for sure.”

However the Government’s plans to help customers through the current crisis with a £200 rebate later this year from a household’s energy bill – although it is repayable over five years – so more like a loan. Once again said Ian Carrotte it is the average small and medium business that is picking up the tab for much larger failed concerns.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Pic: Construction Executive

Viability of tens of thousands of businesses in the balance – all caused by rising levels of late payment

Back in the recession hit days of the 1980s and 1990s I regularly suffered from clients for my graphics business who thought paying on 90 and 120 days was acceptable. Some of the worst offenders went bust – like Carillion who used to boast on their website that their terms for some suppliers was 120 days after date of invoice.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said late payment was one of the biggest issues for small and medium sized businesses as it cripples cash flow.

In the trade construction website Building this week Tom Lowe has highlighted how Vistry is one of the slowest paying housebuilders despite its pre-tax profits. He reported: “Vistry is still one of the industry’s slowest paying housebuilders despite the firm saying it will have more than doubled pre-tax profit when it publishes its 2021 results next month. Latest government data compiled by Build UK showed the firm took an average of 44 days to settle its invoices, with the figure being unchanged from when the data was last reported in July.”

Ian Carrotte said: “It’s a problem that has never gone away and it needs legislation to ensure firms who are clearly in profit to stick to their supplier’s and sub-contractor’s terms of credit and to abide by the Prompt Payment Code. The code is voluntary, but we would like to see it become compulsory as it would increase business expansion and give confidence to businesses that wish to grow.”

Last year, the Independent newspaper listed some of the country’s worst offenders – who also happened to be some of the most profitable companies. They included aerospace firm Meggitt who take on average 132 days to pay most invoices, the C&C Group pay most bills on 120 days, Coca-Cola paid theirs on 83 days and Premier Foods on 76 days.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) reported in a survey of more than a thousand firms that saw late payment increasing. They reported: “The new study of more than 1,200 business owners finds that close to one in three (30%) has seen late payment of invoices increase over the last three months, with a further 8% experiencing other forms of poor payment practice.”

Even worse the FSB said one in ten said late payment was threatening the viability of their business. The FSB said in a statement this year: “Latest government statistics show that there are an estimated 5.5 million small business in the UK – a figure which fell by 400,000 over last year’s lockdowns. The new FSB study suggests that a similar number of firms (440,000) could be forced to close again this year due to late payment alone.”

ICSM has introduced free legal letters for chasing up overdue invoices and a free micro debt service to secure payments of a smaller invoices that have not been paid for months or even years. They also offer a highly respected and successful debt recovery service that brings in hundreds of thousands of pounds for businesses struggling to get paid.

Harry Mottram

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Midas touch deserts the Midas Group as the construction firm teeters on the brink of collapse

The writing has been on the wall for some months for those following the fortunes of another large construction company struggling to survive – this time it is the Devon based company Midas Group. Not on the scale of Carillion but nevertheless a major hit to the industry.

David Price writing for Construction News reported: “The £290m-turnover company filed the notice for itself and its main subsidiary Midas Construction Limited earlier this afternoon. Such a notice typically means a company will formally appoint an administrator within 10 days, unless it can find an alternative financial solution to its problems first.

“Concern for the company’s future mounted this week after reports that work had halted on a number of projects. The company said its projects had been affected by the pandemic, Brexit, and labour and material inflation and shortages.”

Alarmingly David Price reported that a number of subcontractors were owed five-figure sums by the Exeter-based contractor. Concerns rose after the firm posted a  £2m pre tax loss last year and locals noted that work on a number of high profile prejects appeared to have stopped.

The Plymouth Herald reported this week: “Concerns were raised when it emerged that work has ceased on three major Midas Construction hotel projects in Torquay, and that the Coal Orchard development in Taunton had been hit by a dispute with subcontractors.”

In business for more that 40 years the company was one of the largest private construction companies in the country with 500 employees and a large and similar number of contractors who relied on the firm for work.

In a statement, Midas said: “On Friday January 28, 2022, the company filed notices of intention to appoint an administrator in respect of Midas Group, Midas Construction Ltd and Mi-Space (UK) Ltd. This does not mean that Midas has entered into administration and the company continues to operate, while the directors work to explore all available options to achieve the best outcome for the business and our people, our customers, supply chain partners and all our stakeholders. “Midas is committed to pursuing an outcome that will achieve continuity for our live contracts and asks all our valued stakeholders to remain supportive of the group at this time.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said it was another blow to the struggling construction industry with the likes of Bumflu Construction Limited and Excellence in Construction Limited to name but a few in liquidation this month and of course others include Simons, Shaylor and Clugston. He said: “My heart goes out to the suppliers and contractors who may not get a penny. It’s the old story of a trusted family firm getting into trouble – may the pandemic as they have suggested, the economic down-turn or even Brexit related factors – whatever the cause subcontractors and supplier should stop trading as soon as a client fails to pay on time.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Use or lose it – phone firms keep your credit on PAYG after 70 days

Writing in the Guardian newspaper the consumer expert Anna Timms gave advice to a reader who had asked why the phone company Three had kept the credit on her late mother’s phone after she died.

JC of London had written into the newspaper’s consumer guru saying: “My mother recently died of cancer, just three weeks after her diagnosis. While she was in hospital and the local hospice, visitors were restricted due to Covid. Many of her friends therefore paid for credit to top up her pay-as-you-go (PAYG) mobile phone so that they could keep in touch. But she deteriorated so quickly that she was unable to use all the credit, and had £93.86 left on the phone when she passed away.

“I asked the provider, Three, to refund the money so it could be donated to one of the four charities she had nominated in her final days. It was five weeks before the company told me that the money couldn’t be returned and that the number would have to be cancelled as it was in my mum’s name. Three has taken the money my mum’s friends so kindly gave her to ease her dying days and refused to allow me to pass it on to the hospice that looked after her so well.”

Anna Sims explained that: “Most mobile phone providers, believe it or not, hang on to unused mobile phone credits. Not only that – customers forfeit any outstanding money on their sim card and their phone number if they don’t use their phone for six months – or in the case of some providers, for just 70 days. This policy, buried in the small print, penalises often elderly customers who buy a PAYG phone for emergencies, and may find it doesn’t work when they suddenly need it.”

Although this case was resolved amicably after the publicity the practice continues with most phone companies pocketing your cash. Some allow 90 days some firms up to six months and if you do not use the phone for longer the number may be allocated to a new customer so you will have a phone with no credit and a number that no long works.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Harry and Meghan misused in fake investment endorsement that sees scammers rip off investors

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have said the number of fake adverts for get-rich-quick schemes has massively increased in the last few years with the latest ones using the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to grab attention.

Online adverts purporting to be endorsed by Harry and Meghan tempt consumers into parting cash for investments in the world of crypto currencies which will bring instant profits. The adverts use fake interviews and falsely use the logos and graphics of the BBC, the Daily Mail, the Sun, Forbes, Good Morning Britain and the Guardian to make them appear genuine.

Headlines such as: ‘Harry and Meghan shocked everyone in the studio by revealing how they making an extra £128,000 every month,’ and ‘My ex-girlfriend dumped me because I was too poor. Now I’m a multi-millionaire and I have an even better girlfriend,’ are used to attract attention. The names of celebrities and the well heeled are also used – implying they back up the investment schemes – except of course they are all false.

Criminals are behind the scams as once money is transferred to one of the investment schemes the cash disappears. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) reported that in 2016 there were 8,000 cases of fraudulent investment schemes while last year there were 34,000.

Many of the adverts are from websites linked to non-existent company names – so a quick check with Checkaco before parting with cash will reveal if they actually exist. Last year citizens in the UK lost up to £10m to the phoney schemes.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK



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Pic: Daily Record

Gullible parents are losing thousands to fraudsters using WhatsApp to scam cash pretending to be their children

Action Fraud have issued warnings about a new type of scam that has been fleecing parents of cash using the encryptic messaging service WhatsApp.

The police have reported on a number of incidents where parents have been sent messages apparently from their children asking for money due to being in financial trouble whilst away for from home. The typical ones being about a need for the price of an air ticket to get home or money for a night in a hotel after having missed a train.

The BBC reported on the rise of these scams quoting Supt Pollock of the Police Service of Northern Ireland: “In each case, a person purporting to be a family member, often a daughter or son, asks for money. Typically, the ‘child’ is short of money or late paying bills, and asks the recipient to transfer money into an account. This is backed by a story that he or she has recently changed their phone or phone number.

“Just last week, one victim lost £6,000 after receiving one of these messages. We’ve seen victims from Northern Ireland lose in excess of £65,000 to this scam. The amounts of money vary from victim to victim. In some cases that has been as low as £20, all the way up to £15,000.”



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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If only I had done a Checkaco on the holiday firm I wouldn’t have lost my £5,000 deposit

Last year the cruise liner firm Cruise & Maritime Voyages (part of South Quay Travel & Leisure), went into administration taking with it hundreds of thousands of pounds in deposits from customers planning on taking their dream holiday.

One wrote to Tony Hazell of the Daily Mail asking why their £4,693.20 deposit for a cruise to the Azores had not been repaid by the administrators. In March of last year the cruise was cancelled due to Covid and the couple hoped their booking would be transferred to the next available liner set to sail last summer. Alas not – the firm went bust in July before that could happen leaving the couple out of pocket even thought they had paid with a credit card.

The couple explained: “We submitted a claim to ABTA, it said that as we had paid by Barclays debit card we must apply to the bank for a refund via a dispute process known as chargeback. Blame game: Barclays bank refused to refund a couple’s cash after their dream £5,000 Azores cruise was cancelled due to Covid Barclays refused. ABTA needs to know the reason for refusal before considering a refund. Barclays has ignored requests for a letter of explanation. On November 6 last year, we asked the Financial Ombudsman for help. But it said it was unable to appoint an agent because it had a huge backlog of cases due to the pandemic.”

Tony Hazell of the Daily Mail questioned what was the point of ABTA since they had failed to help in a straight forward case of a lost deposit through no fault of the customer. Eventually he managed to get the money restored – mainly because of the high profile of his name and that of the newspaper. However for most people they would simply not get their deposit back without a huge effort and sleepless nights. A quick Checkaco on the firm Cruise & Maritime Voyages would have shown they were on the verge of collapse.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)
 
Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/



For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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Print industry takes a hammering as furlough ends, Covid related loans are called in and past lockdowns hit cash flow forcing more firms to call it a day

Writing in the trade publication Print Week Darryl Danielli reported on Boss Print who have shut up shop this month due to an ‘unsustainable drop in work.’

The London based company have made the 11 staff redundant blaming the pandemic for the crisis that has seen clients cutting spending on print.

He wrote: “Managing director Fenton Smith said that trading had been difficult since the start of the pandemic, and that despite the firm making use of the furlough scheme, like many print businesses, and the various lockdown respites, the business had run out of time.”

Fenton Smith also said he considered taking out further loans to keep the company going but decided against it saying he was ‘beaten up and worn out’ – a feeling many in business can relate to.

In the same sector Print Week have also reported on Kesslers who have been making workers redundant as they battle to survive.

ICSM noted these details from Companies House last month:

PRINTERS AND PUBLISHERS: SIGN INDUSTRY, PAPER & INK MAUNUFACTURERS
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
CHP Publishing Limited    11610124
Lincoln House Publishing Limited    12434079
P.S. Office Supplies Limited    06748354
Sprint Envelopes Limited    04672168
 
Liquidators Appointed
Business Print Services Limited    04695882
Colorsign and Print Ltd    07804745
Copyprint (Wales) Limited    07277864
Digital Print & Supplies Limited    12537550
Express Print Limited    02284433
Neon Print Studio Limited    08683638
Print Imp Limited    06232176
P.S. Office Supplies Limited    06748354
Pulse Publishing NW Limited    08377367
See Learning Films Limited    08972127
Signature Signs and Print Limited    12804605
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Arthouse Creative Limited    03978300
Matthews the Printers Limited    01811630
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Stacked Publishing Limited    10645630

Anecdotally ICSM understands many companies have taken furlough payments and made use of the Government backed loans and grants but have still not been able to survive as the restrictions have eased. When furlough finally ended 1,400 went bust in September 2021, while in the energy sector alone these companies bit the dust last autumn:

PfP Energy – September 2021

MoneyPlus Energy – September 2021

Utility Point – September 2021

People’s Energy – September 2021

Green – September 2021

Avro Energy – September 2021

Igloo Energy – September 2021

Symbio Energy – September 2021

ENSTROGA – September 2021

Pure Planet – October 2021

Colorado Energy – October 2021

Daligas – October 2021

GOTO Energy – October 2021

Bluegreen Energy Services Limited – November 2021

Omni Energy Limited – November 2021

MA Energy Limited – November 2021

Zebra Power Limited – November 2021

Ampoweruk Ltd – November 2021

CNG Energy – November 2021

Neon Energy – November 2021

Social Energy Supply – November 2021

Bulb – November 2021 (in administration)

Entice Energy – November 2021

Orbit Energy – November 2021

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST: New year new concerns as city traders indulge in short-selling targeting well-known names

Short-selling

City traders have started the year with a rash of short selling targeting some of the stock market’s biggest names. The HUT Group, Asos, Ocado Bohoo and AO World have all been subject to the practice – reported on the This is Money website – part of the Mail Online group. Neil Craven of the business desk for the Daily Mail and Mail on the second Sunday in January reported on the short selling by city traders of the HUT Group – owner of many beauty and fashion brands – causing the share price to fall. He noted: “The number of contracts out on loan – so-called short positions which controversially allow investors to profit from a drop in the share price – have doubled in the past fortnight, hitting a new high. The value of shares held by short-sellers is now £110million. The sustained short attacks are threatening to derail a recovery in the share price. They come despite persistent rumours that the company’s billionaire founder Matthew Moulding, also its largest shareholder, may seek to take it private.”

Short-selling is where a trader borrows shares and sells them at the market price hoping they fall in value. They then buy them back at a lower price before returning them to the owner having made a profit equal to the difference in price. GameStop was the subject o short selling last year but fans rallied and pumped in cash to restore the share price so it doesn’t always work.

Famously in the 2015 movie The Big Short trader Michael Burry played by Christian Bale realises the USA housing market is about to collapse due to sub-prime mortgages loaned by the banks to people who can’t repay the loans. As the first to see this he makes a series of loans of shares to short sell knowing the shares will fall in value – which happened – creating the 2008 Credit Crunch. Burry made a lot of money from the practice – an activity repeated from time to time by other traders spotting overpriced businesses but it remains a controversial activity.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Authorities claw back fraudulent claims for CBILs, Bounce Back Loans, Furlough Payments and Covid-19 Support for Rural Businesses that see a string of convictions – but millions are still missing

Anecdotally those in the business community regular hear of fraudsters who saw the Government’s financial help to business as free money.

ICSM sources have heard of company directors taking the money on offer by giving misleading information about the viability of their business. One source said they had known of company directors who had claimed their firm was viable on the application when in reality they were hugely in debt and had no chance of ever breaking even with the help of a loan.

Stories like this are two a penny and it would seem are born out by a string of court cases brought by the Insolvency Service as they seek to claw back some of the lost cash.

Previously the Insolvency Service brought Raashid Khan in Birmingham to book who took a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan before transferring the full amount out of the company’s account to himself just days before his company went into administration. A year ago the Insolvency Service petitioned the Courts to wind up five limited companies with one taking a £240,000 CBILs on the basis of false information.

ICSM’s source said many of the company directors who completed the loan application assumed there would be no consequences. He said: “Some saw it as a way to wind up a business by taking the cash and promptly folding the firm having secured themselves a dividend. It doesn’t work like that – fraud in a criminal offence.”

The Inland Revenue has also been hunting down fraudulent claims for the furlough scheme announcing last year they had been doing spot checks on businesses. The taxman was also open to ‘whistle blowers’ contacting them – over 4,000 reports sent to them during the first period of the furlough scheme.

ICSM’s Ian Carrotte said the classic examples were where a firm had expected their workers to continue working for them while also claiming furlough payments. He said: “We’ve heard through the grapevine of managers have asked furloughed employees to do ‘a little bit of work on the side’ which was illegal and there have been cases where someone has left a firm but the company continued to claim their furlough cash.”

HMRC and the Treasury said they designed the schemes to protect public money against error, fraud and abuse and sifted out 100,000 applications for rejection. However fraud and mistakes with the schemes which are backed by the tax payer and not the banks who facilitated the loans are expected to see somewhere north of £7bn in lost cash.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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PIC: FT

Suppliers to Jamie’s Italian received little from the £83million debt after collapse – but multi-millionaire Jamie Oliver gets £1.75m pay-off

Many is business believe the administration system of collapsed companies is in need of reform due to the much-criticised pre-pack system, phoenix companies and the way unsecured suppliers are treated.

The criticism will only increase after it was revealed that when Jamie’s Italian chain of 22 restaurants went bust in 2018 suppliers of food, drink and a wealth of services to the TV chef were left with little or nothing. And the company owed £83million but following work by administrators KPMG only £600,000 is left to pay a tiny amount of cash to a long list of suppliers.

However, Oliver’s holding company received a £1.75m windfall from KPMG as the holding company had ploughed £15m into the ailing company in a bid to save the collapsing chain.

Writing in the Mail Online Katie Feehan reported: “In January last year, the company’s administrator KPMG revealed that the majority of the £83million owed to secured and unsecured creditors such as food suppliers, councils and landlords would not be recovered.  

“Auditors said that while three of Jamie’s Italian restaurants and delis at Gatwick Airport remain open, the people owed money for the past eight months are likely to be significantly out of pocket.

“Now it has emerged that unsecured creditors, such as the suppliers owed millions, will have to share £600,000 that has been set aside for their claims. One of the largest debts to a supplier is the £221,494 run up by the chain with Direct Meats, based in Essex.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the list of 288 creditors included printers, couriers, cleaners and landlords including local authorities who leased premises to Oliver. He said: “This is a classic case of suppliers being hoodwinked by a famous name and allowing their credit terms to be broken. It doesn’t matter how big a company is suppliers should never fall for the ‘do you know who I am’ line. Big and famous names go bust and they should only be judged on whether they pay their bills on time – and not on how big they are on TV. Frankly this case stinks as many small businesses will get next to nothing.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Checkaco News: beware of pubs and restaurants going bust this winter taking your deposits with them; get rich quick schemes – a warning from Albania; cryptocurrency fraud takes millions from the general public



Beware of the pub: warnings over ‘surge’ in insolvencies as hospitality sector hits the rocks


If you’re considering booking a restaurant or gastro pub for a belated festive meal for your work colleagues, then beware. Due to the Government’s warnings about the Omicron variant of Covid-19 the hospitality industry has had a poor Christmas with thousands of bookings cancelled putting many on the brink of insolvency.

Before parting with a hefty deposit for a meal check out the business with Checkaco to check the company isn’t about to go bust – taking with it your deposit.

Patrick Dardis should know as he’s the head of Young’s – the pub and restaurant chain. He said there would be a surge in collapses due to the sector’s lack of earnings during the Christmas period. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said: “Unfortunately, with the latest fear campaign that’s being run, it’s damaging so many businesses that could have possibly survived, and as a consequence, thousands and thousands of businesses will now collapse in January.

“There are a lot of individual owner-operators who’ve been running their businesses for years and have thrown the kitchen sink – people have lost their marriages, they’re losing their livelihoods, and this is the last straw. This is the bit that they were desperately clinging on to and it’s been taken away from them without any support from government.”

Before you pay a pub or restaurant this year remember they may be about to go bust – meaning you’ll not only lose your and your colleagues’ cash – but you won’t get that meal either. So if in doubt always do a Checkaco.

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds
Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.
Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)

 
Get the low down on any firm at 
https://checkaco.com/
Check out the blog at https://checkaco.com/blog/ or leave a comment
More stories at https://checkaco.com/blog/stories/
More cartoons at https://checkaco.com/blog/cartoon-strips/
Previous newsletters at https://checkaco.com/blog/news-letters/



A warning from recent European history: the day Albania ran out of cash due to pyramid schemes


You may have read this month about Elizabeth Holmes in America who has just been sentenced to serve time in prison for fraud. Essentially, she created an elaborate and contemporary Ponzi Scheme – a phoney investment that promised huge returns – for a machine that can detect all forms of disease from a few drops of blood. She demonstrated what appeared to be a legitimate device and soon had investors pouring in their savings making her a billionaire – except the machine didn’t work. It was a con.

Back in the 1990s the former Iron Curtain Communist state of Albania was experimenting with the free market following the end of anti-revisionist Marxism–Leninism policies. Several get rich quick schemes were set up fronting themselves as legitimate investors buying land, buildings and businesses by con men – but they were fraudulent, and their controllers took the money and invested it in themselves.

The amount of cash lost when 25 of the most prominent investment schemes collapsed ran into the billions with banks running out of cash and inflation reaching three figures. The upshot of the scandal in 1997 saw the country descend into anarchy and civil war. Banks and shops were looted and the nation’s gold reserves were stolen as fighting broke out across the country – and it took an international UN backed armed intervention led by Italy to bring stability back to the country. And it had all started over Ponzi Schemes – if only they had Checkaco in Albania at the time!

Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/
Check out the blog at https://checkaco.com/blog/ or leave a comment
More stories at https://checkaco.com/blog/stories/
More cartoons at https://checkaco.com/blog/cartoon-strips/
Previous newsletters at https://checkaco.com/blog/news-letters/

Crypto currency fraud is on the rise and it’s mainly the young who lose out to the tune of £20,000 a time

Action Fraud – the UK’s police unit dedicated to catching fraudsters – said that last year around £150 million was stolen by criminals from the general public. The crime fighting organisation said: “Since the start of 2021, Action Fraud has received 7,118 reports of cryptocurrency fraud, with an average loss per victim of just over £20,500. 18 to 25 year olds accounted for the highest percentage of reports (11 per cent) and over half (52 per cent) of victims were aged 18 to 45 years old.”

They said a common tactic was to put fake of celebrity endorsements online. A link to the article takes the potential victims to an investment site where they are encouraged to invest in crypto currencies with promises of huge returns. Most firms selling investments in cryptoassets are not authorised by the Financial Conduct Authorotiy (FCA) which means you have no protection when things go wrong. So always check the FCA Register to make sure you’re dealing with an authorised firm and check the FCA Warning List of firms to avoid.

If you think you’ve been a victim of an investment fraud, report it to Action Fraud online at www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. For more information about investment fraud, visit www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart

Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/
Check out the blog at https://checkaco.com/blog/ or leave a comment
More stories at https://checkaco.com/blog/stories/
More cartoons at https://checkaco.com/blog/cartoon-strips/
Previous newsletters at https://checkaco.com/blog/news-letters/

 

Checkaco was created for consumers so that they can quickly access very detailed information about a company. Using our secure search, you can view any company anonymously in seconds.

Full peace of mind for £6.50 per company checked when you buy three reports for £19.50.

Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more.

Or buy in bulk: 10 reports for £37.50 (£3.75 each); 25 reports for £88.75 (£3.55 each); or 100 reports for £335 (£3.35 each)

 Get the low down on any firm at https://checkaco.com/






The ratings are poor, fair, good or excellent – find out all their details now at https://checkaco.com/


For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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COMMENT 2021 a year to forget: recession, covid crisis, logistic problems, the Northern Ireland protocol, labour shortages and of course Brexit – the elephant in the room politicians won’t talk about

There are certain moments in economic history that stand out for their sheer horror. Black Thursday in 1929 which heralded the Wall Street Crash and a worldwide depression. Black Wednesday in 1992 when John Major’s Conservative Government were forced to withdraw the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism costing the nation more than £3bn and hiking interest rates to 15%. Then there was August 9th in 2007 when there was a run on the bank of Northern Rock triggered by the sub-prime mortgage scandal in the USA. And who can forget 9/11 on 2001 then global markets plummeted in the following days after the twin towers of the World Trade Centre in New York were destroyed by terrorists.

The Wall Street Crash of 1929 saw economic ruin for many

And there are others closer to this year. The Brexit referendum in June 2016 has seen a major hit to a range of sectors including haulage, farming, fishing and hospitality – although politicians in the two main parties are not keen on talking about it. The Government tends to blame all the problems caused by Brexit on Covid although its own experts in the Office of Budget Responsibility estimates Brexit is a 4% hit on GDP compared to 2% from Covid. Perhaps the lesson is to never again allow referendums to be decided on a simple majority – but rather a minimum majority of 60-40% – including the potential Scottish Indi-ref 2 as they are so divisive.

Another day the economy took a turn for the worse without realising it was on January 20th, 2020, when Peter Atwood from Kent died of the Covid-19 virus. It was only months later that covid was identified as the main factor in his death but within weeks the numbers of patients succumbing to the virus rocketed, prompting the first lockdown. And that was another dark date in the UK’s economy – when the Government implemented the first legally-enforced Stay at Home Order on March 23rd, 2020. Suddenly whole sections of the economy had their business and cash flow halted. The knock-on effect was felt by taxi drivers, airports, airlines and tourist industries, train and bus operators and the countless firms who supply offices, factories and places of work with everything from sandwiches to paper clips.

The economic problems of Brexit are now well documented from a shortage of labour to harvest crops, to healthcare workers returning to their home countries and truck drivers from Europe preferring to work nearer to home. And there is the massive drop in trade from Northern Ireland due to the bungling of the Government’s EU Trade Agreement that has left the province adrift of the UK in all but name. It will take years to sort out the economic problems it has caused but neither the Government or the Labour Party seem interested in re-joining the EU or striking a more liberal trade deal. My prediction is within 10 years or so there will be a change in attitude in Downing Street and a more cooperative policy with Europe will emerge with potentially renewed membership in the decades to come. I say this not as a fan of the EU but from the point of view of business and the UK’s social and economic wellbeing.

The effects of Covid on the economy are obvious but just as the so-called Spanish Flu that killed millions around the world from 1919 to 1923, it will pass. Doomsters predict it will be around for many years but that seems unlikely based on past epidemics. Not because it will naturally die out but because modern medicine and vaccination programmes will dent its effects and create immunity for most. Nobody doubts the lockdowns have changed society and the economy. Some sectors have boomed – from PPE manufacturers to courier companies – while others like pubs and high street shops have been hit badly. I suspect that when the virus disappears people will return to the saloon bars of Britain and their High Streets as we are essentially a social species.

From the point of view of business one of the talking points of the year has been the uneven help given to companies. The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak was quick to dish out cash to the private sector at the start of the pandemic, but his generosity seems to have been curtailed this Christmas with his less than generous help for hospitality. Retailers appear to have been left out as have many businesses associated with the high street as the public have opted to stay at home. There are countless tales of firms abusing furlough payments, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) and bounce back loans with the Government predicting it will lose at least £7bn to fraud. That is incredible. Especially when most freelancers and self-employed workers got nothing – other to claim benefits – as their work was taken away by the lockdowns. Actors, photographers, musicians, designers were given zero help – and they number in the millions.

Figures are yet to come in, but the recession caused by the Covid crisis has created six consecutive quarters of economic contraction in the UK from Q1 in 2020 to Q2 in 2021. There has been a recovery this summer but again the economy is stalling. It is longer than any slump in the 20th and 21st centuries. The way the Government has (and still is) trying to stimulate the economy is by printing money through quantitative easing (QE) and helping sectors with investment such as new infrastructure of grants and loans.

And the economy has not been helped by the hike in energy and fuel prices which universally affect everyone and every business.

The long-term effects of Covid and Brexit on the economy are unknown but in the short term they have seriously hit Britain, led to a fracturing of the United Kingdom and produced a Government that spends much of its time arguing with its own MPs. Whether it can get its act together in 2022 remains to be seen but right now for many in business the outlook is a question of survival. Someone once said to me back in the teeth of the early 1990s recession that if you can survive in business during a downturn then when things pick up you should be fine. On that optimistic note may I take this opportunity as business editor for ICSM to wish you all a healthy and solvent New Year.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Pic: Daily Mail

As Petra Ecclestone winds up accessories business Stark with liabilities of £4.3m ICSM notes just because owners are rich doesn’t mean they can find success in business

ICSM’s Ian Carrotte has criticised the failed business run by Petra Ecclestone’s accessories business after it was wound up with liabilities of £4.3m.

He said: “It’s another case of a wealthy person thinking they can start a high end business and make a success of it just because they are famous. There’s always been doubts about Mrs Beckham’s fashion house and is it really in profit – and then the case recently of Kate and Pippa Middleton’s brother James’s confectionary company Boomf crashing with millions in debt. There is only one way to succeed in business and that is to use some basic housekeeping rules. Don’t run up debts, don’t pay yourself more than the business can afford and have a sound business plan complete with a cash flow forecast. But above all create a business around something you know really well.”

Named Stark, Petra Ecclestone called her handbag business the unusual name after apparently her billionaire father, Bernie, said the idea was ‘Stark Raving Mad’. The firm that sold handbags made from snake and crocodile skin at £1,000 a go had net liabilities of approximately £4.3 million, and was removed from the Companies House register and dissolved this autumn. It’s the second time she has seen a business fail having seen the demise of clothing firm Form previously.

Ian Carrotte said: “Lady Gaga went bust in 2009, but she bounced back with a successful string of music hits. Donald Trump famously has seen six companies go bust including a casino despite all his father’s money and celebrities like Martine McCutcheon and Kerry Katona have hit the skids because of their lifestyle expectations – it other words they have lived beyond their means – which is essentially what happens with failed businesses. Cut your cloth this winter to suit the situation your business finds itself in.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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ICSM blasts Farmdrop’s ‘shocking £11million losses’ as anger grows amongst suppliers and customers who say their Christmas’ have been ruined after the firm went bust last week

Ian Carrotte of ICSM has blasted the directors of defunct firm Farmdrop after it called in administrators and failed to pay suppliers of deliver Christmas turkeys to its 10,000 customers.

“How can a firm like that run up losses of ten million pounds,” he said, “thousands of customers have been left shattered. No turkeys, no vegetables for their Christmas dinner – all paid for in advance with nothing to show for it.”

Trade magazine The Grocer’s Edward Devlin said the company was set up in 2012 by city broker Ben Pugh after he saw a gap in the market for organic farm produce to be delivered to Londoners. Devlin reported: “Farmdrop has made heavy losses since its inception in 2012 – which totalled more than £30m in just the past four years – and has raised more than £30m in funding across several rounds.

“In its latest set of accounts filed at Companies House for the year ended 30 June 2020, the company’s auditor UHY Hacker Young warned the business needed significant funding to continue trading as a going concern.

“Losses at Farmdrop came in at £10m in the year despite revenues more than doubling to £12m as the pandemic drove up demand for its food sourced from local farmers, fishermen and other producers. The accounts stated the company employed around 175 staff in the period, with the wage bill coming in at more than £7m for the year.”

ICSM’s Ian Carrotte said the firm had a long list of directors who must have known the company was heading for the rocks for months. “They simply don’t understand their social responsibilities when you are in business. More than 100 staff made redundant two weeks before Christmas, suppliers left unpaid and customers out of pocket with nothing to show for it. Something was going wrong months ago before Pugh resigned as a director.”

The Guardian reported: “Anxious customers who had been expecting a delivery over the next few days asked on social media what would happen now and if they should attempt to source items from elsewhere. Moira Doyle tweeted: ‘My delivery today is cancelled. Payment taken yesterday for Xmas order. Refund?’ She added that it would be ‘back to Tesco’ for her. Another tweeted: ‘Well @farmdrop have gone bust, and with that, my Christmas food delivery … anyone got any intel on places still selling goose?’ Jane Tidey was one of those tweeting she had just received an email saying her order for Christmas Eve was cancelled. Meanwhile, Rhiannon Litterick tweeted the company to say her order had not arrived and the phone line was closed. ‘Please help! We’re isolating, so are relying on this order,’ she added.”

And the newspaper also reported on supplier John Malseed of Frenchbeer Farm in Newton Abbot, Devon, who said it was “a bit of a kick in the teeth.” They reported he said there were hundreds of its turkeys in a warehouse in London and “we are trying to get our stock back”. Malseed said he was hopeful he could send them on to the customers who had ordered them, but that it was too early to say for sure what would happen. His farm had more than doubled the number of birds it produced this year, Malseed said, adding: “We will try to fulfil as many of their orders as possible.”

ICSM have reported on the scores of farms and food suppliers who have hit the rocks this autumn in their regular newsletters and listing of who has gone bust including Euro Farm Foods and the Covent Garden Fruit Company.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Graphic from Youtube CNN video

Prepare for Credit Crunch 2 in 2022 as bankrupt China’s Evergrande Group defaults on repaying debts potentially causing a domino effect like the USA sub-prime mortgage scandals

Concern is mounting in finance departments across the UK over the impending collapse of Chinese property giant Evergrande in the New Year.

China’s largest property group owes billions of pounds and has defaulted on a series of repayments to lenders worth £1bn this week triggering bankruptcy proceedings by German finance screening outfit Deutsche Marktscreening Agentur (DMSA).

S&P Global Ratings have also agreed with DMSA heaping pressure on the Chinese Government over whether to bail out the giant developer that owes more than $300bn and has failed to pay lenders a series of bonds to stay afloat.

The Chinese President Xi Jinping is facing a dilemma as not saving the company with tax payers’ cash could see a domino effect as Evergrande’s creditors and suppliers follow the firm into liquidation. They include some Chinese banks and numerous businesses tied to the property market which make up two percent of the nation’s GDP.

If that was to happen then many Chinese investors and wealthy families could be hit badly as they are owed fortunes by Evergrande. The fall out could see banks unwilling to lend to Chinese firms as the economy of the People’s Republic of China falters for the first time in two generations. That would spook the group of male billionaires who run the one-party state with fears of public demonstrations as hundreds of thousands of workers are left unpaid along with the suppliers. With the financial implications to the London property market, the Chinese economy and those of the Far East. Commentators have routinely suggested that just like the sub-prime mortgage scandal in the early noughties that led to the Credit Crunch of 2008 the effects could end up affecting almost all economies eventually.

The crisis has echoes of the sub-prime nortgage scandal that saw some USA banks fail

As banks around the world are also left with massive debts they would do what they always do and call in current loans to businesses and cease lending at the same time to protect their capital.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the situation could ultimately hit businesses in the UK. He said: “Combined with hikes in interest rates, increasing inflation and a stagnant economy caused in part by the pandemic it does not bode well for 2022. Before the ripples arrive in Britain, I advise all businesses to rethink their borrowing and expansion plans to make sure they are secure financially. So many firms in the UK are in a highly fragile state due to the Government’s Covid regulations, the hangovers from CBIL loan and Bounce Back loans and workers under employed due to the furlough scheme.”

A property boom developed in China in the noughties funded by massive loans

The background to the crisis is the Chinese Government’s policy to reduce real estate prices by insisting on tougher rules for property and building firms to meet in their borrowing. Once the rules were implemented two years ago loans to firms like Evergrande dried up causing cash flow problems and an inability to service debt. The Chinese Government believe that they can allow giant firms to fail as it sends a message to other firms not to increase their borrowing. They don’t believe in a company being ‘too big to fail.’ It’s a delicate balance as it could throw hundreds of thousands of workers out onto the streets and lose suppliers millions in lost payment. The Chinese Communist Party is terrified of civil disorder and so it is gamble for them as they try to dampen property prices and call out firms that over borrow.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Remember City Link? Suppliers and staff nervous about the dreaded ‘business goes bust on Christmas Eve’ practice as fears mount over hospitality, retail and print industries

Remember when courier firm City Link went bust on Christmas Eve 2014 when its 2,272 staff lost their jobs and their suppliers were left high and dry? To use the old phrase dating from 9/11 – it was a good day to bury bad news or in the case of City Link to dump on everyone.

It’s a pretty shitty thing to happen whether you are an employee or a supplier. And I should know as I was made redundant from a graphics studio on Christmas Eve after the staff party along with half the workforce. It’s the worst time as by then you’ve spent out on Christmas and there’s no chance of getting another job for at least three or more weeks. For suppliers it’s even tougher as there’s no chance of getting paid at the last minute or even trying to get their goods back from the company as it’s all locked up.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said many bosses and staff are very nervous about the Christmas holiday period this year following the Government’s mixed messages about social events which has caused a body blow to the beleaguered hospitality industry.

“Retailers, pubs, cafes and small shops that service workers in town and city centres have already been hit by the non-sensical work from home advice,” he said, “you can have an office party but don’t go to work or the pub. Already around a third of firms are looking to lay off staff in the New Year – and some in the hospitality industry are already drawing up plans now – before the break to either shut up shop or make redundancies.”

Concerns have mounted in the printing and allied industries over the problems of the debt ridden YM Group with some in the business suggesting they are another Pole Star that could go under over the holiday period. The firm is massively in debt according to trade journal Print Week triggering concerns in accounts departments and among ICSM members.

“We all remember City Link as they dropped a bombshell over the Christmas holidays, “said ICSM’s Ian Carrotte, “and of course only three years ago the computer firm Kaiam in Scotland made 310 staff redundant without much warning.”

It’s a brutal time as it’s not only the insolvent firm that’s in debt – often it’s their workers who have mortgages and bank loans to pay. This week Nottinghamshire Live reported on Charlotte Tomlinson, 27, who was made redundant as a marketing assistant at Lockwood Publishing. She told the news site she would have to sell her home after the company made her and others redundant.

With days to go before the holiday period Ian Carrotte’s advice is to chase for payment from clients who have failed to pay on time and show signs of shutting up shop. He said: “It’s a desperate time, and I’ve known financial directors when they hear a whisper of a customer about to go bust who have visited the firm and refused to leave until they get some payment.”

If you have problems with non-payers or customers who are months late in paying their bills – contact ICSM today.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Daily Mail reports Duchess of Cambridge’s brother James Middleton’s food firm Boomf is set to go into administration owing £2million

There’s confusion over the future of Boomf, the company with Royal connections that sold personalised marshmallows after it has been widely reported the business was about to enter administration.

The Daily Mail reported that Boomf was carrying almost £2million of accumulated trading losses, with ongoing losses down from £3million.

Unlike his parents’ party paraphernalia firm which has made them very wealthy Mr Middleton, 34, who set up Boomf in 2013 has apparently been a flop with a string of creditors demanding payment. Administration will potentially find a buyer or the possibility of liquidation is on the cards.

The Daily Mail’s Richard Eden reported: “Boomf’s investors include James Matthews, the husband of Mr Middleton’s sister Pippa, greetings card company Moonpig founder Nick Jenkins and former VoucherCodes supremo Duncan Jennings. Despite the retained balance sheet losses, the company was £1.3million in the black at the date of the accounts, with £3.2million in share capital offsetting the ongoing losses.  Last weekend, Boomf was reported to have been ‘sold’ to a photography company, Splento. Its chief executive, Roman Grigoriev, declined to say how much Splento had paid. He said: ‘I cannot possibly comment on whether investors might lose money.’ He said Splento would keep using the name of Boomf, which also sold greetings cards that explode in a shower of confetti when opened.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the charitable explanation was the downturn in the economy caused by the Covid-19 crisis. However he added: “Any business that size cannot function with debt running into the millions. Questions will be asked as to how such a huge amount of debt was accumulated when business was flat or clearly not booming. Something went seriously wrong with Middleton’s business plan.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Print Week reports on a director banned for abusing a Bounce Back Loan while ICSM raise concerns over insolvent PS Office Supplies

Fraudulent firms across the UK have been ‘taking the p*ss’ as they’ve been abusing the Government’s Bounce Back Loan scheme.

That’s the view of Ian Carrotte of ICSM and swathe of financial directors, credit managers and accountants in the printing and allied industries.

Ian Carrotte said: “It sticks in the throat that legitimate firms have pulled up the drawbridge, cut costs and did what they had to do to survive the Covid-19 crisis but fraudsters have been taking and p*ss. Insolvent companies have been taking the cash when they had no hope of repaying it. It’s disgusting.”

Print Week’s Jo Francis reported on the demise of Rugby-based Pick it Pack It Send It Limited and its director Christopher Pearson.

She wrote: “On 16 June 2020, Pearson was advised by an insolvency practitioner that Pick It Pack It Send It was insolvent and that any continued trading should not worsen the position of its creditors. On 27 July 2020 he applied for a taxpayer-backed Bounce Back Loan of £50,000. The scheme was targeted at small businesses to help firms get through the pandemic. The maximum loan amount available via the fast-track funding was £50,000. 

“The Insolvency Service report into Pearson’s behaviour said that on 28 July 2020, the £50,000 BBL funds were paid into Pick It Pack It Send It’s business bank account. On the same day, Pearson transferred £38,000 of the BBL funds from the company’s business bank account into his personal bank account, ‘contrary to the terms of the BBL agreement which state that BBL funds should be used for the economic benefit of the business’. Pick It Pack It Send It ceased trading on 22 October 2020.”

Since the establishment ICSM has consistently warned about the abuse of the £47.4billion Government scheme that was instigated to support business suffering during the Covid-19 shutdowns.

Ian Carrotte said: “The National Audit Office has had a right go at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy because the taxpayer would pick up the bill for not only the interest on the loans but act as guarantors if they were defaulted on. It was a disaster waiting to happen as Government ministers like Rishi Sunak and his advisers rushed through the scheme and didn’t listen to industry voices saying this was licence for fraudsters.”

Pick it Pack It Send It Limited owed the loan but also £153,628, including £37,730 to the taxman for VAT plus £76,514 to trade and expense creditors. 

“If a member of the public took out a £50,000 loan and did what Pearson did, they’d go to jail,” said Ian Carrotte, “it took the Government until March this year to shut the stable door after the horse had bolted and shut the scheme down.”

Another case in the industry has come to light via Companies House involving a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan is that of PS Office Supplies that was wound up by IP Andrew Turpin in October. The firm crashed owing just shy of a quarter of a million pounds including the £50K Bounce Back Loan. The figures suggest that the firm may have been insolvent when the loan was applied for.

ICSM understands from industry insiders and those left with unpaid invoices by PS Office Supplies that they had concerns over its links to Nectere and one of its directors Paul Musgrove who was also a director of PS Office Supplies.

Ian Carrotte said: “These cases are just the tip of the iceberg. I’ve been banging on about the lack of due process and diligence shown by the Government’s Bounce Back Loans for months. Back in 2020 even the British Business Bank’s Keith Morgan told Alok Sharma the business secretary that the scheme was vulnerable to criminals and fraudsters. And so it’s played out. And it’s legitimate businesses that have picked up the tab.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Bulb, Avro and now Zog: the energy crisis smashing the free market dominated by the big six leaving customers and suppliers in the lurch

With Zog Energy’s collapse there are now 3.8 million households affected by Britain’s worst energy crisis since the Three Day Week in the 1970s. Then under Ted Heath’s Conservative Government energy was in the hands of the state and prices were supervised by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. Under the deregulation of Margaret Thatcher’s Government the energy industry was privatised leading eventually to a multiplicity of firms bidding for your business. That worked until the price of gas in particular (but also of oil) began to rise sharply. The regulator Ofgem’s price cap meant smaller firms couldn’t absorb the losses and were effectively trading at a loss while the larger firms – the big six – buy in bulk in advance when prices were lower.

Zog Energy ceased trading this week with their 11,700 customers allocated to another company – but as ICSM’s Ian Carrotte has pointed out if they were in credit, they are lending the new energy supplier an interest free loan.

“Factories that use thousands of pounds of electricity and gas a month could find their overheads are hiked without warning,” he said, “apart from giving an energy firm an interest free loan in form of credit they lose control of one of their fixed costs. It is unacceptable. As least in the good old bad old days of British Gas and the likes of SWEB there was consistency in price – something businesses need when working out their costs.”

The ICSM boss also pointed out that when the energy firms go bust they usually take with them thousands in unpaid invoices to suppliers, sometimes the taxman and VAT are left unpaid and of course their staff are canned – and not always paid off with their entitlement meaning the tax payer picks up the tab. Bulb were a big played in the market with 1.7 million customers and so when they went into a special administration regime (SAR) which protects consumers and ensures continued energy supplies. Outside of the Big Six Bulb was the largest of the smaller suppliers.

So who is next? Octopus Energy UK is the largest firm outside the Big Six and they have told the Government and Ofgem this week they are safe as have Green Energy UK.

Which energy suppliers have gone bust this year?

Green Network Energy – Taken over by EDF in February 2021

Simplicity Energy – Taken over by British Gas in February 2021

HUB Energy – Taken over by E.ON Next in August 2021

PFP Energy – Taken over by British Gas in September 2021

MoneyPlus Energy – Taken over by British Gas in September 2021

Utility Point – Taken over by EDF in September 2021

People’s Energy – Taken over by British Gas in September 2021

Arvo Energy – Taken over by Octopus Energy in September 2021

Green – Taken over by Shell in September 2021

Enstroga – Taken over by E.ON in October 2021

Igloo Energy – Taken over by E.ON in October 2021

Symbio Energy – Taken over by E.ON in October 2021

Colorado Energy – Taken over by Shell in October 2021

Pure Planet – Taken over by Shell in October 2021

Daligas Limited – Taken over by Shell in October 2021

GOTO Energy Limited – Taken over by Shell in October 2021

Zebra Power – Taken over by British Gas in November 2021

Omni Energy – Taken over by Utilita in November 2021

AmpowerUK – Taken over by Yü Energy in November 2021

MA Energy – Taken over by SmartestEnergy Business Limited in November 2021

Bluegreen Energy – Taken over by British Gas in November 2021

Neon Reef –Taken over by British Gas in November 2021

Social Energy –Taken over by British Gas in November 2021

Bulb – Ofgem is in the process of allocating a new supplier for customers in November 2021

Orbit Energy – Ofgem is in the process of allocating a new supplier for customers in November 2021

Entice Energy – Ofgem is in the process of allocating a new supplier for customers in November 2021

Zog Energy – Ofgem is in the process of allocating a new supplier for customers in November 2021

Which leaves just 10 energy firms in the UK.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Manufacturing and print industry news: more than a third of businesses are close to insolvency as costs mount

The Times has reported on research from trade group Make UK and RSM accounts that around 40% of British firms surveyed reported they were close to tipping into a financial crisis or insolvency.

The reasons given included debt and rising costs. Prices from manufacturers of animal feed for agriculture has seen inflation over 20% according to an investigation by Private Eye while The Times also reported that input costs for half the businesses surveyed were up 20%.

The newspaper reported: “As the latest producer prices index showed input costs up 13 per cent for manufacturers in October, against 11.9 per cent in September, a rise of that magnitude was ‘very much plausible’, especially with the combination of increases in taxation, raw material, shipping and energy costs, ‘Make UK’ said.”

It went on to say that: “Supply chain disruption and staff shortages could prove the ‘tipping point’ for businesses under strain, as customers and suppliers cling to cash or change their payment terms, according to research from Make UK, the trade body, and the accountancy firm RSM.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the findings reflected the views of many of the members of ICSM’s business intelligence group with so many clients of firms admitting they were in trouble.

He said: “The restrictions brought in by the Government to combat the Omicron variant of Covid 19 will further hit business as people stay away for their offices, the night time economy is hit and spending is curtailed. We need to live with the virus and its various versions not run away and hide as commerce is being hit from all sides – HGV shortages, worker shortage in many industries, the issues over the Brexit trade deal and debt built up over the last two years.”

The Times reported that 40% of manufacturers had, “…engaged restructuring and insolvency professionals or intended to within the next 12 months, either out of necessity or as a precautionary measure.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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The man who had his business Buy My Debt closed down by the Insolvency Service ‘in the public interest’ is back again with a new company

Phillip Allingan of the former firm Buy My Debt that was closed down ‘in the public interest’ in 2011 has set up a new business called Should I Liquidate?

A sales email seen by ICSM from the business asks: “Did you know it is possible to liquidate your Limited Company, get rid of all the debts the company has, and carry on in business through a new Limited Company with a fresh start and no debts?”

It then lists ‘negotiating payment plans with HMRC and other creditors’ plus raising finance and getting investment as options. This after listing CBILS and Bounce Back Loans as reasons why a business may be in trouble and implying that company directors could avoid having to repay debts by liquidating their business and starting up again under a new name.

At the time the Mail’s This Is Money reported in 2012: “The Government’s Insolvency Service went to the High Court last December to close down Allingan’s two debt advice firms – Buy My Debt and The Trusted Partnership. The firms promised to help individuals negotiate with creditors to cut their debts or to take over the liability for them entirely. Clients were charged £1 plus ten percent of their debt and a £250 fee in return for supposedly offloading what they owed. However, according to the Insolvency Service: ‘None of the debt sale agreements was approved by lenders, thus the client was left in a worse financial position, having paid fees but still having a contractual obligation to repay the full amount of the debt to the lender.’”

On the website Should I Liquidate it explains how the firm works: “Give us a call. Telephone discussion – free of charge, without obligation and with total confidentiality. I’ll explain what your options are and if you wanted us to get involved any further what we can do and what our fees will be. I’ll leave you to sleep on it and think about what you want to do. Remember we don’t recommend or advise. The decision has to be yours. If you never come back to us that’s it. It has cost you nothing. If you would like us to assist you in any way we can then we will and before we start you will know exactly what our fees are and what we can do for you.”

On his LinkedIn profile Phillip Allingan describes his role as the managing partner of Business Advice Services which was established in 2008 offering advice and mediation to businesses in debt.

ICSM – the UK’s leading credit intelligence membership group for businesses looking to avoid bad debts and late payers said there are three ways to liquidate a company. These are: Creditors Voluntary Liquidation or CVL, an Administrative Dissolution and a Compulsory Liquidation.

ICSM advises directors of struggling firms to seek professional advice from their accountants, an insolvency professional or legal firm before taking out further loans to stave off insolvency.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Suspicions grow as ‘sharks’ offer ‘get out of jail free’ cards to desperate businesses looking ‘to dump debt’ including bounce back loans and CBILS

Did you know it is possible to liquidate a limited company, dump all the debts and carry on in business through a new company with no debts?

It sounds a tempting prospect but in reality ‘doing a phoenix’ is not as simple as that and is often illegal if due process is ignored. If is shown a business has deliberately acted to dump their bounce back loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) then not only are the directors potentially liable for those loans, but it could constitute fraud ending in prison for the culprits.

A quick online search reveals various firms offering to help companies to enter administration to stave off creditors and to potentially find a buyer through a pre-pack deal or to eventually close the business legally. Loans of any type may have a guarantee from the lender and although technically banks don’t have to ask a business for a personal guarantee (usually a home or property) for the Government’s emergency Covid loan schemes, there are many instances where they have enforced a clause as part of the loan.

If a firm cannot repay one of these loans, there is the scheme known as Pay as You Grow which restructures the repayments but to simply shut up shop and say you can’t repay the loan isn’t that simple.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said there are ‘sharks’ out there pretending they can help a company to dump their debts and restart under a new name without any liabilities.

“We have seen sales emails and offers online suggesting it’s possible to liquidate a company without any comeback whatever the liabilities,” he said, “these are effectively fishing exercises by these ‘sharks’ to temp the desperate company director into replying. Once hooked they are not offered the phantom ‘Get out of jail free’ cards but are pushed towards taking another loan at a higher interest rate which they can never repay.”

Ian Carrotte said there are essentially three ways for a business to close legally with a potential long term prospect of seeing the directors establishing a similar business in the future.

He said: “A Creditors Voluntary Liquidation or CVL comes from the directors of the struggling firm who will appoint an IP or licenced Insolvency Practitioner who liquidates the company. Creditors get a report from the IP before the liquidation takes place. The staff need to be dealt with and paid if possible while all the assets are listed and sold. Any money left over is then allocated first to secured creditors and after that, unsecured creditors are paid – although this is rare. Failure to do this properly or for the directors to secretly squirrel away money or assets is illegal.

“Another way is an Administrative Dissolution where the directors wind up the firm without any need for an IP – a typical example is on retirement of the owners or a firm that no longer trades and has little or no debts.”

He said that a Compulsory Liquidation is the third way to end a company and that’s more serious as usually a creditor such as the taxman or a customer has had enough of the excuses for non-payment and goes to court to get a winding up order.

ICSM has seen a dramatic rise in the number of companies simply shutting up shop without due process. Customers are not told, suppliers are left in the dark, phones and emails go unanswered, and the directors simply disappear.

“If one of your customers does this disappearing act then contact ICSM,” said Ian Carrrotte, “as there are ways to contact the directors and force them to confront their liabilities. Some of these firms hope that by simply stopping and disappearing the trail will go cold and at some stage Companies House will strike them off as companies.”

ICSM’s debt recovery department is well versed in chasing down the ‘disappeared’ and realising payment for their suppliers left high and dry.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Mini forest set to grow larger in Somerset

With concerns over the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the loss to wild habitat for flora and fauna in England there is one place which is seeing the planting of more trees which provide solutions to both issues.

The Stables Business Park at Rooksbridge in Somerset is set to further expand its tree cover by the planting of another 1,800 trees this winter. They will add to the already extensive woodland cover earlier this year when 5,000 trees were planted in the grounds of the park just off the A38.

“We have a motto here: relax you’re at work,” said proprietor Tom Dally, “as we have made the business park as green as we can with woods and even a pond to attract wildlife. With the grants available through National Grid and the Hinkley Point Project we’ve already created a large wood on the right as you come in with more trees to the left. The new trees will add to the main forested area with more on the left nearer the office in the meadow.”

With a mixture of native broadleaf trees that include oak, beech, hazel and holly the first plantation was created in January and has already thriving in the rich soil of the park.

The Hinkley Connection plantation at Rooksbridge is already the single largest planting undertaken so far in the policy of increasing reforestation and is set to grow even larger under the 106 planning agreement to offset the new power lines currently being constructed linking Hinkley to Seabank near Avonmouth. Hinkley Connection is a joint project featuring National Grid, Western Power and EDF at Hinkley Point C Nuclear Power Station.

It goes without saying that the recent COP26 conference stressed the importance of planting trees to improve the environment, encourage wildlife, combat pollution and carbon dioxide and pump oxygen into the atmosphere.

Hinkley Connection said: “We’re already engaged with landowners closest to the route, and we’re now making the scheme available to landowners within 3km of the new connection. Wherever possible we will use native species such as oak, willow, hazel, hawthorn and maple, to create woods and to infill in existing hedges.”

The initiative known as the Off-Site Planting and Mitigation Scheme (OSPES) aims to increase local biodiversity as well as increasing the amount of tree cover along the route which passes Rooksbridge in Somerset.

The Stables Business Park lies just off the A38 at Rooksbridge close to the M5 at Edithmead and features new classic English farmstead style buildings occupied by a wide range of businesses.

“It really improved the park as we are in a rural location,” said Tom, “with thousands of broadleaf native trees the business park effectively doubles up as a nature reserve as well.”

The Stables Business Park

Tel: 07968 910 761.

www.stablesbusinesspark.com 

Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset BS26 2TT

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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New regional offices for national autism charity in Rooksbridge

A major national charity has moved its regional office into the bucolic surrounds of the Stables Business Park at Rooksbridge in Somerset.

The National Autistic Society is the UK’s leading charity for people on the autism spectrum and their families. Since 1962, they have been providing support, guidance and advice, as well as campaigning for improved rights, services and opportunities to help create a society that works for autistic people.

The charity run a range of services for autistic adults in Burnham-on-Sea and across the South West. This includes residential care, outreach support and increasingly supported living, supporting people in their own homes in the community.

The charity has moved into the Tack Room and Unit 3 at the business park choosing the offices as they are close to national transport links including the railway at Highbridge and Worle.

Carly Jarvis, Interim Area Manager for the South West, National Autistic Society, said the offices were ideally located for the staff. “It’s the perfect base for our work across the South West. With the M5 close by at Junction 22 the A38 leading to the local rail network it couldn’t be better. We particularly like the parkland style, with its trees and green spaces which make the location very pleasant.

“It’s an exciting time for our charity, not least as we’re starting to provide more supported living services in the area, where we’ll be supporting people in their own homes. We’re currently looking for motivated and enthusiastic people to join our team – and help us support local autistic adults to become more independent and take a more active role in their community.”

National Autistic Society, The Tack Room, Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset BS26 2TT

For more about the charity visit www.autism.org.uk

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Vision Media Networks moves into the Stables Business Park in Rooksbridge

A high-tech communications firm has moved into the Stables Business Park at Rooksbridge in Somerset.

Vision Media Networks has relocated to the ground floor of The Mill House (in The Granary) at the business park choosing the offices as the park is close to national transport links including the railway at Highbridge and Worle.

The proprietor Dan Durie of the business said the offices were ideally located for the staff and enjoyed a green and pleasant outlook.

The managing director said: “With the M5 close by at Junction 22, the A38 leading to the local rail network it couldn’t be better. I established the firm in 2004 and we have always been in the area in Bristol or Somerset but needed to relocate this year due to growth. We liked the park immediately and the owner Tom is really passionate about keeping it at the highest standards with excellent internet connections.”

The business works with the retail, veterinary and dental sectors providing now Europe’s fastest growing network of screens across the UK and Ireland.

Vision Media Networks, The Mill House, Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset BS26 2TT

For more about the firm visit http://www.intentor.co.uk/

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

+++++++++++++++++++++

The highly successful Stables Business Park has gained further planning permission for three new stand-alone units offering more than two thousand square metres of office space each.

Tom Dalley, the park’s proprietor said: “It means we can expand to allow a wider selection of accommodation from small businesses to larger concerns. Since we opened in 2005 every unit has been occupied with newly empty ones quickly let. I’m told by estate agents we have a unique business park with trees, woodland and a parkland aspect which makes it very attractive for staff and companies alike.”

“The three new self-contained units will be constructed during 2022 ready for occupation on completion,” he said, “with each one having its own car parking area and separate entrance. They will have plenty of space which will be enhanced with more tree planting and landscaping to ensure they blend into the campus.”

Tom Dalley said the Stables Business Park’s sales pitch is ‘relax, you’re at work.’

The village of Rooksbridge has a general store and Post Office, pub and garage, plus within a short drive are supermarkets and a range of shops at Edithmead and Highbridge.

Transport links include Junction 22 of the M5 one mile away on the A38, along with Bristol Airport a 20 minute drive and national railway connections at Highbridge and Worle close by.

For more information visit the park’s website at https://www.stablesbusinesspark.com/the-park/new-builds/

Stables Business Park, The Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset BS26 2TT UK. Tel: 07968 910761.

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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ICSM’s listing of who has gone bust recently

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Runners and Riders
Below is a collated list taken from the Government’s London Gazette of various businesses who are experiencing problems in the last few weeks.
We have broken them into different sections to make it easier to see and we have included the company number in each case. 
 

ADVERTISING AGENCIES, DESIGN STUDIOS, MARKETING, MEDIA, PUBLIC RELATIONS
Administrators Appointed
Dawsons Music & Sound Limited    12587114
KLT Communications Limited    11059534
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Ashworth Creative Limited    09837324
Bacall PR Limited    08562898
Better Marketing Solutions    12330037
Display Revolution Limited    11091409
H J Design Limited    09155535
JGM Media Limited    10134079
Market Link Creative Marketing Limited    00481743
Nationwide Marketing Limited    12392387
Rupert Design and Packaging Limited    11935459
The Original Art Company (UK) Limited    04450492
Thomas Music & Art Limited    08046579
TW Shopfitting Limited    09880591
Whizz Promotions Limited    08936819
 
Liquidators Appointed
2Plus2 Creative Limited    12474183
Aventor Design Limited    04557090
Beyond Visual Designs Limited    07901085
Blue Active Media Limited    00558127
Be Yourself Marketing Limited    07440633
Chase PR and Social Media Limited    08696010
Climate Media Limited    08268852
Cocktail Marketing Limited    08644191
Cresco Communications Limited    08840929
Digital Fuel Marketing Limited     08607772
Flyght Designs Limited    11959589
Grand Designs Animation Limited    04367385
Greystone Communications Limited    10955776
H & Q Design Limited    09021362
Ian Rogers Media Limited    11366945
In-Out Design Limited    07669421
Joshbrand Promotions Limited    09423212
JHP Design Limited    01858953
Junkyard Creative Limited    10423448
Longhorn Films Limited    05354568
MGK Design Solutions Limited    05642993
Money Tree Media Limited    09153411
Nelson Design Limited03969066
P.B. Signs Limited    05665800
PK Printwork Ventures Limited    08405812
Roadhouse Productions Limited    05551771
SPM Marketing Limited    10823945
TMS Publishing Limited    11002243
The Good Marketing Company Ltd    11444075
The Hotel Marketing (Cyprus) Limited    03230648
Vibe Communications UK Ltd    05742367
Yellow and Grey Design Limited    12121281
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Aldridge Print Group Limited    03923817
Allied Outdoor Advertising Limited    02317772
AM Marketing (Kent) Limited    09935185
Angus Advertising Limited    10668962
Apeseven Media Services Limited    06291905
B S B Design Limited    10553296
BCS Design Limited    04858971
C.F.D. Billboards Limited    01329843
Chiron Communications Limited    01081808
CH Promotions Limited    10668854
Clear Channel Banners Limited    04715228
Clear Channel (Midlands) Limited    01448409
Clear Channel (South West) Limited    03030075
Clear Channel UK (One) Limited    01441161
Clear Channel UK (Three) Limited    01847745
DSG Broadcast Services Limited    06007577
D’Souza-Rauto Broadcast TV Clear Limited    07274970
GHF Media Limited    08957120
Family Type Limited    12178226
F M Media Limited    04143850
Grosvenor Advertising Limited    03130865
Kippax Boy Limited    08839736
KMS Advertising Limited    03021896
Linotype Hell Limited    00765637
Mint Solutions Design Limited    08991321
PPS Media Limited    03165439
Spear Communications Limited    03258560
Strategic Communications Consultancy Limited    08070607
Tee Media Company UK Limited    07888317
Total Office Printing Services Limited    01014073
Town and City Advertising Limited    01624909
Vision Posters Limited    02526180
XR Design Limited    11732366
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Aequitas Packing (UK) Limited    08913537
 
Winding up orders
One Space Media Limited    06741203
 
CAFES, DRINK, FOOD, PUBS, RESTAURANTS
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed S 136   
Manchester Food Traders Limited    05559270
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
85 Leisure Limited    11256791
Garvey Taverns Limited    10123337
HIIT Kitchen Food Services Limited    11197965
L & O Meats Limited    03883042
Molana Foods Limited    09252081
Orange Acorn Taverns Limited    09899819
Pearl Food Distribution Limited    07908857
Peoples Coffee Limited    09855202
Raw Construction (Foods) Ltd     09552033
Star Spice And Grill Limited     12288018
Taste Cuisine Limited    06744692
The Lounge Restaurant Manchester Limited    08803380
The Lunch Box (A & D) Limited    04505392
Wakefield Pizza and Kebab Limited     12292364
 
Liquidators Appointed
AAHZ Hospitality (PVT) Limited    12057477
ADC Food Limited    09722515
A & W Foods Limited    10385115
AYS Food Limited    11240813
Bargain Drink Busters Limited     08086095
Birrell Bars Limited    12140031
Butterfly Food Limited    12253955
Caffeine Lounge Ltd    11745088
Concept Food Services Ltd    07757194
Cotleigh Brewery Limited    04758308
D & P Food and Wine Limited    11411793
Dorset Food Limited Limited   11927563
D.Rock Champagne Limited    11696043
Duck Restaurant Limited     11333949
Foodafayre (Uk) Limited    04005117
Global Food & Drink Supermarket Limited    11304891
Hai Shui Restaurant Limited    08541398
JMP Catering Limited    11827155
K D Restaurant Group Limited     10083992
Ladybird Off Licence Limited    09729407
Maido Foods Limited    10265708
Meat Boutique Limited     13150265
Mettricks Limited    08327715
Munchies Grilled Limited     11994771
New Dawn Foods Limited     08078983
Pizza Unit Limited    12290953
Premier Bar and Catering Limited    09797075
Premier Westminster Restaurants Limited    07172594
Rock Grill and Pizza Limited    11249126
Roamers Caterers Limited    09157896
Wardour Foods Limited    05575730
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Bloomsbury Drinks Limited    08462775
K and D Wines Limited    03965255
Pandora Express 1 Limited    04688642
Pandora Express 2 Limited    04688647
Pandora Express 3 Limited    04688610
Pandora Express 4 Limited    04688632
Pandora Express 5 Limited    04709081
Pandora Express 6 Limited    02776512
Pandora Express 7 Limited    04992210
Pizza Express (Soho) Limited    00646528
The Gourmet Pizza Company Limited    02874428
The Good Food Company of Harefield Limited    02344092
 
Petitions to Wind Up   
G Lawrence Wholesale Meat Company Limited    01084692
 
Winding up orders
OTR Restaurant Limited    09315889
The Meat Company (Sussex) Limited    11974869
 
CONSTRUCTION, PROPERTY, SURVEYORS, BUILDING TRADES
Administrators Appointed
All Foundations (UK) Limited    06749253
ASA Crushing & Screening Limited    10191566
Hayden Homes Limited    10674359
Kapex Construction Limited    10538428
MS Construction Group Limited    12362907
Res Homes Limited    10781847
Shackleton, Wintle and Lane Limited    01736379
 
Administrators Meetings Para 51   
Minister Building Company Limited    06402398
Saul Brothers Limited     06739784
 
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed s 136
GILB Construction Limited    07123381
SCG Building Services Limited    08408460
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Ashford Newbuild Limited    11825307
Beechwood Construction Limited    07092676
Bow Builders Limited    10310438
Camellia Construction Limited     12285488
CG Rail Limited    09574790
Easy Access Construction Limited    04778979
Elm Rail Limited    11578798
Fairhold Haven Limited    05441733
Fairhold Homes (No.8) Limited    03697443
JJ Building Services (Gloucester) Limited    10480874
Kiveton Rail Limited    10126862
Matt a’Court Building Contractors Limited    10690292
Midgley Construction Limited    08516993
Red Door Homes (NW) Limited    11341186
S & T Builders Limited    08883314
SJS Construction Ltd    08342200
State Of The Art Construction Limited    10699642
Sparrow Building Limited    08842213
Total Construction and Maintenance Limited    07154984
TUD Construction Limited    10906495
 
Liquidators Appointed
All Work Construction Limited    11408155
APS Plumbing Heating & Gas Engineers Limited    05187423
AS Builders (Warwickshire) Limited    11344840
Boon Consulting (UK) Limited    03926039
Cambourne Construction Limited    11082397
CHB Construction Limited    09858195
Drax Homes Limited    07797352
Fen Rail Services Limited     12477215
FWD Construction Limited    06791986
Infrastructure Developments Limited    08785458
GM Build-UK Limited    11936758
H M T Construction Limited    09362444
Homeseal Windows Limited    10052787
JE Construction Sussex Limited    08858943
Live O Electrical Ltd    11187311
MF Building Construction Limited    10672267
Midgley Construction Limited    08516993
Northeastern Construction Limited    08843179
PHL Plastering Limited    06328525
PJH Building Contractors Limited    06416600
Prism Architectural Limited    04017047
Red Door Homes (NW) Limited    11341186
Robert Sterling Surveyors LLP    OC355537
SOS Construction & Civil Engineering Limited    10031940
Span Construction Limited    11320465
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Albert Cottages Limited    07268999
Carbis Bay Developments Limited     08104017
Construction 123 Limited    04904365
Dove Construction Services Limited    02849051
Signature Homes (Southern) Limited    09366118
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Holmes Construction (Cumbria) Limited    10191432
Regency Build & Development Limited    11112966
 
Winding Up Dismissal
UK Steel Fabricators Limited    08437203
 
Winding up orders
BPL Build Limited     09749998
Purple Development Homes Limited    11621690
 
COURIERS, HAULAGE, LOGISTICS, STORAGE
Administrators Appointed
The Wheel Company (North East) Limited    09051661
W.E. Deane Limited    00768571
W E Deane Liverpool Ltd    11472808
White Peak Distribution Limited    04751874
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
ABC Couriers Limited    03303731
Budget Express Limited    09911392
KV Cars and Couriers Limited    04535471
Pearl Food Distribution Limited    07908857
Rossay Logistics Limited    10308078
Squirrel Freight Limited    11315974
THL Transport Limited    11543224
The General Storage Company Limited    05552475
VAL Transport Limited    10603698
 
Liquidators Appointed
I 54 Logistics Limited     08842678
A1 Elite Courier Services Limited    08532149
AJD Logistics (Basingstoke) Limited    09446584
AL J Transport Limited    09209900
A P Warehousing and Logistics Limited    11577969
Bishop’s Move Limited    00860924
Darrells Transport Services Limited    07844868
D Gilbert Transport Limited    08610191
Douglas & Sons Logistics Network Ltd.    10288132
Dunlace Taxi Services Limited    04174672
Dolphi Couriers Limited    06658308
DTS Couriers Limited    09223368
FMCG Logistics Limited    11028581
Gorilla Haulage Limited    10672141
K Transport Systems Limited    12140118
One Distribution Limited    11243506
Melbourne Courier Company Limited    06060889
Performance Logistics UK Limited    09634456
Rossay Logistics Ltd    10308078
Squirrel Freight Limited    11315974
Steve Swift Transport Limited    07244115
S. W. Allen Logistics Limited    09639057
THL Transport Limited     11543224
Transport Resources International Limited    05635230
Translogic Limited    03936360
Wolf haulage Limited    11280694
YH Transport Limited    12113384
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Bob Sherwin Limited    04823622
Cardinal Shipping Limited    06693315
Logistics Projects (Pontefract) Limited    10377376
Stobart Transport & Distribution Limited    05907280
Westminster Shipping Limited    06358101
 
Petitions to Wind Up
P Young Transport Limited    04869024
 
Winding up orders
LV Distributions Limited    11892823
 
EVENTS, EXHIBITIONS
Administrators Appointed
F3 Events Limited    05973055
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meeting   
A-Z Banqueting Solutions Limited    08081799
Fine Manor Events Limited    07198089
 
Liquidators Appointed
Derby Ritz Events Venue Limited    12256942
Event Exhibition Services Limited    05169724
Elf Events Limited    07606463
Event Exhibition Services Limited    05169724
Exhibitions Conferences & Banqueting Services Limited    04372359
F4d Events Limited    11169643
P.B. Signs Limited    05665800
Walsall Banqueting and Conference Limited    11039991
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Mitie Events & Leisure Services Limited     07836059
The Worx (Canteen) Limited     03446136
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Billion Lenny Events Limited    11636107
 
HOLIDAYS, TRAVEL
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Guided Motorbike Tours Limited     10235164
Polka Dot Cycling Limited    07508781
Seychelles European Reservations Limited    03524046
 
Liquidators Appointed
Bliss Travel (Bawtry) Limited    08486105
DJ Travel Industry Consultants Limited    07778468
Lotus Tours Limited    10957469
Mark Pollard Travel Limited    06285320
Paradise Travel & Tours Limited    04803012
Rydewell Travel Limited    04634365
Saturn Travel Limited    00965522
Top Travel & Tours Limited    10707657
 
HOSPITALITY, HOTELS
Administrators Appointed
Fletcher’s Arms Limited    06166950
The White Swan West Coker Limited    03856581
Walworth House Pub Limited    10046639
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Duck Restaurant Limited    11333949
Henna Wedding & Catering Limited    07782752
Kim Korean Restaurants Limited    07205480
Seychelles European Reservations Limited    03524046
Sky & Star Limited    08818659
Travel Kings Limited    06537441
Trademark Events Limited    10265116
Yaz Cafe Limited    12093358
 
Liquidators Appointed
Arctic Bars Limited    11850345
Bliss Travel (Bawtry) Limited    08486105
Coaster Coffee Limited    11798228
Elf Events Limited    07606463
Exhibitions Conferences & Banqueting Services Limited    04372359
F4d Events Limited    11169643
Firefly Cinema Club Ltd     13047611
Front Foot Hospitality Limited    08116855
Giant Hospitality Limited    09589283
HMR Sporting Club Limited    11952119
Lahore Restaurant Watford Limited    10870014
Lotus Tours Limited    10957469
Meat The Art Limited    10091868
Paradise Travel & Tours Limited    04803012
RLCL Entertainment Limited    09416395
Top Travel & Tours Limited    10707657
Traditional London Pubs Limited    06350567
Walsall Banqueting and Conference Limited    11039991
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
BH Hospitality Limited    10088787
Cyphers Indoor Bowling Company Limited    00312671
Kempston Liberal Working Men’s Club and Institute
MJ Restaurants Limited    06523322   
Newlands Coffee Limited    07476611
Swansea Bay Hotel Ltd     11786831
The Pailton Pub Company Limited    06651043
Tourico Holidays UK Limited    07194495
Wear Inns Limited    05613167
 
Petitions Dismissed
Nite Stop Limited    03018778   
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Billion Lenny Events Limited    11636107
Black Diamond Bars Limited    11452878
 
Winding Up Orders
OTR Restaurant BM Limited    10647317
 
MANUFACTURING
Administrators Appointed
AE Aerospace Limited    03286967
All-Counties Supplies Limited    02677377
GBM-Manufacturing Limited    01284029
J E Lord & Co Limited    04192816
Trade Business Limited    05490057
 
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed s 136
Oso Polymers UK Limited    11167768  
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Chistya Clothing (Leicester) Limited    10110748
DHK Fashion Limited    11579336
JTD Engineering Limited    11637181
Kitchen and Bathroom Collective Limited    07488220
Refine Garment Processing Limited    10941759
Scope Engineering Services Limited    09650941
 
Liquidators Appointed
Atlas Engineering Services Limited    03379887
G & J Engineering Limited    02600227
GAL Fashion Limited    11256573
Relaxing Times Limited    08830125
Mark Woolley Engineering (MWE) Limited    11064379
Pro-Fit Bespoke Fitted Furniture Limited    09315277
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
CRM Engineering Services Limited    10773257
Grimes Mechanical Limited    11134204
Mitie Engineering Limited     05077998
Streetwise Fabrications Limited    06652243
 
Petitions to Wind Up
AG Safebooths UK Limited    09619365
 
Winding up orders
Oakhurst Engineers North West Limited    11354777
 
PRINTERS, PUBLISHERS, PAPER & INK MAUNUFACTURERS
Administrators Meetings Para 51
Monument Paper Bag Company Limited (The)   00481099
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Supreme Digital Print Limited    10503828
Waltham Print Limited    09904745
 
Liquidators Appointed
Blue Print High Wycombe Limited    08583218
Britannia Sign and Print Limited    11331347
Copyprint UK Limited    00991016
Double Six Press Limited    04131708
Festival Publications Limited    09017770
Mitchells Printers Limited    10523755
P.B. Signs Limited    05665800
PK Printwork Limited    08405812
Supreme Digital Print Limited    10503828
The Westdale Press Limited    01787743
TRB Print and Graphics Limited    05766404
TMS Publishing Limited    11002243
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Aldridge Print Group Limited    03923817
Family Type Limited    12178226
Quill And Ink Limited     08077088
Linotype-Hell Limited    00765637
Total Office Printing Services Limited    01014073
 
RETAILERS, SHOPPING CENTRES & MARKETS, HIGH STREET TRADERS, WHOLESALERS
Administrators Appointed
FSLP Limited    06470282
Pheasant Clothing Limited    03504842
Superior Meat Processors Limited    09828815
 
Administrators Meetings Para 51
Clement Browne Limited    07184480
Kurt Orban Partners Limited     08475033
 
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed s 136
Your Car Solutions Limited    10398386
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
A & S Townsend Limited    04463206
Best Car Seller Limited    10831203
Building Supplies Surrey & Sussex Ltd    11716264
Country Kitchen Superstore Limited    12189896
Cartel Menswear Limited    10848103
Copper Still Company Limited    08966492
Elite Bespoke Linen Limited    07643532
Florence Beauty Limited     10826260
H & B Tailoring Limited     11005742
Miss Euro Limited    06459212
Sun To Sea Cornwall Limited    12253635
 
Liquidators Appointed
AI Retail Limited    09072997
Bishop Lifting Services (Wales) Limited     01641631
Caisi Aviation Limited    06777180
Care Home Recruitment UK Limited     10900005
Cask And Corks Limited    08267995
C&D Antiques Limited    11588702
Chase Motorcycles Limited    10031824
Dorothy Perkins Retail Limited    01716523
D H Convenience Stores Limited    10367995
D. S. Clothing Limited     04092629
Dress Rail Boutique Limited    11234718
Fancy Dress Superstore Limited    09270590
House Of Bling Ltd    10845669
MacPrint (Blackpool) Limited    03183019
Masterwork Graphic Equipment (UK) Limited    05890721
NT Wholesale Limited     09252851
Stark Naked Lingerie Ltd    12295805
S.T.E.D. Electrical Limited    02610058
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Paramount Jewellery Limited    03721613
West End Cold Stores Limited    02939740
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Essex County Laundry Limited    00140030
HW Retail Limited    08269584
My London Shopper Limited    12675989
 
Winding up orders
Golf Depot Limited    02995248
 
VARIOUS INDUSTRIES
Administrators Appointed
Avro Energy Limited    09174794
Northamptonshire Industrial Training Association Limited    01343155
Ockbrook School    05086591
People’s Energy (Supply) Limited    09844617
Swift Energy UK Limited    08867685
Trinity Nursing Services Limited    05646151
 
Administrators Meetings Para 51
Essex County Laundry, Limited    00140030
 
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed s 136
Essex county Laundry Limited    00140030
Lordrite Wooden Floors Limited    06599600
UK Calling Party Ltd    12792732
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Cleaner Energy Limited    08825096
K. S. Fashion UK Limited    12319293
Norfolk Painting School Limited    06871673
Wildcard Payment Services Limited    12041135
 
Liquidators Appointed
BBC (Bristol) Club Limited     07201733
Beacons Safety Training Limited     11922735
Carers Elite Homecare Limited    10244151
Darrow Farm, Pet and Equestrian Limited    11907417
Evergreen Education Limited    11363383
Gurkha Coins and Bullion Limited     09226224
Harley Street Therapy Centre Limited    06501573
LG Avionics Ltd     09831991
Platt School Nursery Limited    08488957
RLS Care Services Limited    11682364
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Core Laboratories (UK) IP Company Limited     08772020
JM Highway Management Services Limited     06775117
The Detective Agency Limited    02346660
The Shell Centenary Scholarship Fund    03608466
Wyevale Garden Centres Capital Limited    07942713
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Addington Equestrian 2019 Limited    11294806
CFL Finance Limited    05718498
United Health Hub Limited    10568746
Wuji Limited    11602117
 
Winding up orders
Sunbeds Services Limited    11800386
 
Types of Insolvency
Administration
Administration applies to limited companies and partnerships and is intended to get the company out of trouble and trading again if possible. Administrators can be appointed to a company that is unable, or is likely to become unable, to pay its debts. They can be appointed by the courts (on application from a creditor, directors or partners), the holder of a qualifying floating charge over the assets of the business, or the company or its directors. An administrator’s primary goal is to rescue the company as a going concern. If this isn’t possible, the administrator will try to get a better result for the creditors than would be possible if the company was wound up. If neither of these is possible, the administrator will sell the company’s property to make at least a partial payment to one or more secured or preferential creditors, such as employees or the bank.
Administrators Meetings Para 51
This statement by the administrator of his proposals must be accompanied by an invitation to an initial creditors’ meeting (Sch B1, para 51(1)).
Bankruptcy
This can only apply to individuals (including sole traders and individual members of a partnership). Bankruptcy petitions may be presented to the court by the individual, by creditors who are owed £750 or more, or by the supervisor of an individual voluntary arrangement. A bankruptcy order is made by the court.
Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)
A company comes to an arrangement with its creditors to pay the debts in full or in part over time. A CVA begins with the company (or its adviser) drafting a formal proposal at a Creditors’ Meeting to pay part or all of the debts. If the proposal is accepted by the creditors, the arrangement will become legally binding and the directors will retain control of the company.
Compulsory Liquidation
This is the winding up of a company or a partnership by a court order (a winding up order). A petition is normally presented to the court by a creditor stating that he or she is owed a sum of money by the company and that the company cannot pay.
The Official Receiver becomes liquidator when the order is made but an Insolvency Practitioner will be appointed to take over if the company has significant assets. The liquidator’s role is to realise the company’s assets, pay all the fees and charges arising from the liquidation, and pay the creditors as far as funds allow in a strict order of priority.
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed S 136
When a winding-up order has been made, the Official Receiver is initially appointed as liquidator (section 136, IA 1986). The company’s creditors and contributories may appoint another individual, who must be a registered insolvency practitioner, to act as liquidator (section 139, IA 1986). More than one liquidator can be appointed to act jointly.
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation
Here the shareholders pass a resolution to wind the company up without the need for a court order. A Creditors’ Meeting is held to nominate the appointment of a liquidator and consider a statement of affairs. Creditors can appoint a committee to work with the liquidator, whose role is to realise the company’s assets, pay all the fees and charges arising from the liquidation, and pay the creditors as far as funds allow in a strict order of priority.
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meeting
Creditors are now ‘deemed to have consented’ to a decision or resolution if 10% of creditors (by value) have not objected to it. In other words, if objections are not received by the specified decision date, creditors are ‘deemed to have consented’ to the decision or resolution.
Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
An individual comes to an arrangement with creditors to pay his/her debts in full or in part over time as an alternative to bankruptcy. The arrangement is set up by a licensed Insolvency Practitioner who will put it to a meeting of creditors. If the proposal is accepted at the meeting, the agreement reached with the creditors will be legally binding. An Interim Order is sometimes issued by a court and will immediately protect the debtor from any legal action by creditors.
Petitions to Wind Up
A winding up petition is a legal notice put forward to the court by a creditor. The application, in effect, asks the court to liquidate the company as they believe the company is insolvent. Proceeds of the liquidation can be used to pay back creditors.

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ICSM CREDIT
For information on ICSM visit www.icsmcredit.com or call 0844 854 1850.
ICSM, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR. Tel: 0844 854 1850. www.icsmcredit.comIan.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

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West Country building firm owed £2.5m when it went bust with workers left unpaid

West firm owed £2.5m
Last month Plymouth’s URBN Construction went bust owing 182 creditors a total of £2.5 million. William Telford of Plymouth Live reported: “URBN Construction left just £44,400 in assets, but was faced with claims totalling more than £2.5m for money owed. Even the taxman, HM Revenue and Customs, will not receive the full £345,687 it is due, despite being a preferential creditor. And 20 former employees are unlikely to see any of the £65,262 that is owed to them.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said that around 2,000 building firms had collapsed since 2019 and the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

Plymouth Live said creditors included Burrington Estates (New Homes) Ltd, owed £51,462, while MEP Systems Ltd, based in Estover, Plymouth, was owed £159,523, Plymouth’s YGS Landscapes Ltd is £37,669 out of pocket, Westcountry Fabrication Ltd were taken for £87,333.Others included Exeter’s System Six Kitchens are owed £119,338, Pavilion Construction Ltd, in Newton Abbot, lost £93,179, builders merchants RGB Holdings Ltd, were hit with a £59.135 loss, and Ashburton’s Devon Tarmasters (SW) Ltd was owed £33,943.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST NEWS: High-end luxury store is widely reported as being on the brink of appointing administrators



Fashion insolvencies
The Covid-19 lockdowns that forced many businesses to close appears to have claimed another victim in the fashion store Roland Mouret based in London’s West End. The high-end luxury store is widely reported as being on the brink of appointing administrators.

The Sunday Times reported Roland Mouret filed the notice due to the slump in sales of their designer dresses. Roland Mouret is owned by designer Roland Mouret and businessman Simon Fuller and their landlord Grosvenor Estates. Other fashion stores killed off by the lockdowns and a switch to online shopping include Laura Ashley, Debenhams, Jaeger, Ralph & Russo and Oasis.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST NEWS: tributes to former print industry boss and BPIF president Gerald White who died last month

The British Printing Industries Federation (BPIF) have published a tribute to their former president Gerald White who died in October.

He had been diagnosed with cancer and passed away on Friday, October 15. The BPIF published this tribute on their website: “This day is a profoundly sad one, though even in this time of grief I cannot help but reflect on the many wonderful experiences that I – and the rest of you – shared with Gerald White. In navigating this loss, it’s important for us to remember how much richer our lives have been as a result of our relationship with Gerald.

“He was a true gentleman and a believer in people, he loved the print business, and especially Book production and Publishing. I personally will miss him tremendously, for the support and belief he had in me, and our businesses ability to produce books of the highest quality and for a fair price. He will be sadly missed. Our thoughts are with Gerald and his loved ones at this sad time.”

Born in 1961 Gerald trained as an accountant and worked his way up in the printing industry to become the CEO of the Berforts Group in Stevenage in the early 1990s moving on to become a director at Print2Demand in Westoning, Bedfordshire. In 2015 he became the president of the BPIF giving him a high profile within the print industry after taking over from Tony Garnish. In 2014 he had worked with the legendary magazine publisher Felix Dennis as joint owner of Butler, Tanney and Dennis before its collapse. He was reported by Print Week as having been instrumental in appointing Charles Jarrold as the federation’s new chief executive.
Ian Carrotte of ICSM said Gerald was a singular character. He said: “During his time he saw the end of the glory days of the print industry and its transition to digital printing and short runs. He will be greatly missed and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Checkaco News: check a company first in case they go bust with your cash, Rip-off Britain presenter ripped-off, and the story of Anna Sorokin the con woman who stole thousands from friends

Posted on by Harry MottramEdit”Checkaco News: check a company first in case they go bust with your cash, Rip-off Britain presenter ripped-off, and the story of Anna Sorokin the con woman who stole thousands from friends”

Millions of people have lost money to companies going bust this autumn – and with a simple check with Checkaco they could have saved the heartache.

In September 1,446 UK companies crashed taking with them billions of pounds of customers cash, leaving their suppliers invoices unpaid and their staff unemployed. A string of energy firms ceased trading leaving their customers in the lurch as their accounts were switched by Ofgem and much higher tariffs. And the switch often meant that customers who were in credit had to wait weeks to find out if their credit was still intact or swallowed up by the higher bills.

Utility Point, People’s Energy, PfP Energy and MoneyPlus Energy all ceased trading in September while a string of retailers and travel and holiday firms including hotels have gone bust taking with them the deposits of their customers. Worse still are builders who have taken hefty upfront payments from customers and then declare their business has gone west along with the deposits which are often thousands of pounds.

If you are planning of parting with a large amount of cash to business – a wedding venue, a holiday firm, a double glazing company or a shop then check them out first.

You can check to see if the company is solvent for £6.50 per company checked.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more at https://checkaco.com/

Anna in court in New York

Anna Sorokin con woman

Sentenced to four years in New York’s Rikers Island state penitentiary in 2019 and fined £20,000, Russian born con woman Anna Sorokin is currently awaiting deportation to Germany.

Born in Domodedovo near Moscow in 1991 Anna wanted to become rich and famous. She achieved both of these ambitions before her arrest on several charges of larceny and one of theft in 2017. Her family moved from Russia to Germany when she was a teenager and following school she gained an internship at Purple magazine in Paris. From this she was able to make contacts in the fashion world which gave her an entry to the well heeled and well connected changing her name to Anna Delvey.

Anna had arrived in New York in 2013 to work for Purple magazine although whether she was on the payroll was disputed. She blagged her way into the publishing crowd based on her previous connections and after meeting a fashion photographer she illegally used his credit card to fund her lifestyle. Her next step was simple: she announced to friends and businesses she was fabulously rich and would soon inherit a fortune from her wealthy father in Germany. All a lie of course – but it opened doors and hotels, restaurants and stores were happy to grant her large amounts of credit.

To enable her to pay some of the bills she obtained a hundred thousand pound bank loan based on her supposed millionaire status. Using this cash she continued to live in hotels and dine out at expensive restaurants grandly announcing to her sycophantic friends she was to open the Anna Delvey Foundation – a sort of posh arts centre in the city. By now the banks and hotels were closing in Anna persuaded some gullible friends to pay for a luxury holiday in Morocco on the promise it was to promote the foundation.

Running out of credit Sorokin was eventually arrested at a rehab centre and the full details of her crimes quickly unfolded. Various friends told of how she had borrowed money on the promise to repay the next day as her credit card wasn’t working, hotels listed unpaid bills of tens of thousands of dollars and banks and credit companies rued the day they granted her hundreds of thousands of dollars of credit.

The joke is Anna may well end up being rich – she is already famous – as TV and film companies have lined up to tell her story and although she is unlikely to be paid directly by the media she will be able to publish her own story and sell it to the highest bidder back in Germany.

It’s a story that has hit the headlines around the world since Anna is unrepentant and believes she did nothing wrong as only rich people and institutions were affected. She says she should have known better to lend her money – but many of those she conned were friends – and there lies a universal crime perpetuated by con artists the world over.

We have all had a friend or a relative who has asked to borrow money due to a crisis and have paid it back. Some of us have had a friend who in a restaurant realises they’ve left their company credit card at home and can’t pay their fair share but promise to repay you the following day – but then fails to do so as the company credit card has been rejected.

If that happens you can check to see if the company is solvent for £6.50 per company checked.
Quickly view a company’s CCJ’s, legal ownership, credit history, credit score and more at https://checkaco.com/

Gloria Hunniford

BBC Rip-off Britain presenter ripped-off

Unauthorised payment card fraud costs the public more than half a billion pounds a year with the commonest form taking the form of scammers using stolen credit and debit cards to withdraw money from cash points.

The fraudsters use a number of methods to empty the bank accounts of their victims, but the one that was used to empty the bank account of BBC Rip-off Britain presenter Gloria Hunniford was unusual.

A woman who did not look like Hunniford walked into at a Santander branch in Croydon North End and told the bank official she was the TV personality. Banker Aysha Davis did not know who Hunniford was and was duped into handing over £120,000 from her account convinced by two ‘relatives’ who accompanied the woman. She had Hunniford’s bank details and a bank card in the name of Mary Winifred Gloria Hunniford – the full name of the BBC presenter.

Gloria Hunniford alerted the bank when she saw her bank statement and eventually the culprits were arrested and convicted of fraud while the bank refunded the cash. It’s an unusual case for its brazen nature but if the fraudster had known the pin number of Hunniford’s card she could have used a cashpoint – which is why you should guard against anyone trying to see your pin number.

The majority of card fraud is by remote purchases. The criminal has a stolen card and orders goods on line (usually high value) to be delivered. That way they only need to read out the number to the store salesperson or if they have the password and username they can simply fill in an online form.

There are rogues out there who pose as legitimate businesses or are firms with terrible credit histories. Before you pay a cash deposit to them do a credit check with Checkaco for £7.95 and see if they are legitimate. All firms have tell-tale credit histories which reveal if they can be trusted with your money. Checkaco’s credit checks are accurate and up to date so you can spot if the trader you choose is safe – and won’t go bust. Get the low down on any firm or individual at https://checkaco.com/

The ratings are poor, fair, good or excellent – find out all their details now for just £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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And then there were six: the collapsing energy companies leaving a trail of debts, their staff axed and their customers left in the lurch – and now Bulb Energy are on the brink

The energy firms going bust this autumn are leaving a trail of millions of pounds of unpaid debts as well as forcing their customers to take massive hikes in prices as they are switched to new suppliers.

Go To Energy went bust last month owing more than £2 million, while Ampower left £3.5 million in what has become a discredited sector with numerous companies collapsing as the price of energy soars. With the Government’s Ofgem enforced price cap in place most firms cannot break even and so are calling it a day in unprecedented numbers with Bulb Energy the latest on the brink of collapse.

This year the following energy firms have gone bust: Green Network Energy, Simplicity Energy, JUB Energy, Moneyplus Energy, PFP Energy, Utility Point, People’s Energy, Green, Avro, Enstroga, Igloo, Symbio, Colorado Energy, Pure planet, Daligas, GOTO Energy and Bluegreen Energy with around three million customers between them. It could well end up with the so-called Big Six companies left as the only ones still standing mainly due to their inherited wealth from the days of state ownership.

British Gas, EDF Energy, E. ON UK, npower, ScottishPower and SSE supply 70% of the market with a long list of smaller firms making up the rest. These smaller outfits are the companies going to the wall.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the situation had become unacceptable for businesses as manufacturing in particular uses massive amounts of energy which are fixed overheads. He said: “Take the average small factory such as a printing company who had switched to a low tariff with one of these smaller firms. Then the energy company goes bust – usually with hundreds of thousands of pounds in credit from their customers – leaving the factory with a hike in prices as they are switched to a new company – usually one of the big six – plus they have to wait for their credit balance to be restored. You need stability to run a factory so you can keep overheads under control – this energy crisis is a nightmare for business and could force many to cut staff and downsize.”

He also said that anyone supplying goods and services to any of the firms left outside of the Big Six should be very cautious. He said: “The media concentrate on the general public – the consumers – left in the lurch by these energy firm failures – which is understandable. But each one that goes bust, the staff lose their jobs and their suppliers are left with unpaid invoices to the tune of many thousands. Enough to sink a small company. There is enormous collateral damage.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Picture: CNN

The Bounce Back Loan fraudsters who have been caught out by the Insolvency Service with one spending his loan on his girlfriend and the bookies

Thousands of businesses have survived the bleak months of the covid lockdowns by taking out bounce back loans and furloughing staff.

With the furlough system now gone and the loans backed by the Government due for repayment the Insolvency Service have revealed some of the shocking cases of business owners who abused the system. Up until the cut off date for new applications the chancellor Rishi Sunak had allowed £47bn in bounce back loans to be taken out by hundreds of thousands of businesses in the UK.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the figures were shocking as The House of Commons public accounts committee estimated that between £16 billion and £27 billion would never be repaid due to fraud.

He said: “That’s a potential default rate of between 35% and 60% – which is eye-wateringly high. And since all these loans were state-backed, any failures to pay will be paid by the taxpayer.”

The Insolvency Service said that three directors have been banned following investigations this month included cleaning company N&S Solutions Limited who had gone bust before the Bounce Back Loan scheme came in owing £150,000. But that didn’t stop director Rafael Henrique Scher, 38, from pocketing £30,000 on 15 May 2020. Scher signed a disqualification undertaking which prevents him from acting as a director for 9 years.

In another case the Insolvency Service explained how Mujeebullah Khan, 34, and Muhammed Omair Javaid, 33, ran Chunky Chicken, a local Nottingham takeaway until December 2019, when they sold the business. Despite this they improperly applied for a government-backed Bounce Back Loan of £50,000 in the business name after the sale of the company. They said: “The money was used to repay a business creditor and who was also a relative of Muhammed Omair Javaid. Both Mujeebullah Khan and Muhammed Omair Javaid made themselves bankrupt on 24 May 2021, citing debts of over £200,000 that included the Bounce Back Loan. Both Mujeebullah Khan and Muhammed Omair Javaid signed bankruptcy undertakings that extend their restrictions for 8 years. This means they are limited to what credit they can access, as well as not being able to act as a company director without the permission of the court.”

Publican Malcolm Wilks, 57, ran the Royal Oak pub in Nuneaton since 2014.

The Insolvency Service reported: “At the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the pub closed for lockdown and Wilks entered into an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) and began to claim Universal Credit. The pub later reopened and traded for a few hours a week until it finally closed in November 2020 due to the reintroduction of COVID-19 restrictions.

“On 11 November 2020 Malcolm Wilks received a Bounce Back Loan of £19,000. A day later, the supervisor of his IVA terminated the agreement, and confirmed to the Insolvency Service that Wilks had only made 2 repayments.

“As a result of the Insolvency Service investigation, it was established that Wilks transferred nearly £17,000 of the Bounce Back Loan into his personal bank accounts. From there, he paid over £4,100 to his ex-girlfriend and spent £1,120 on online gambling. Nearly £3,500 was withdrawn in cash and cannot be accounted for. Only £6,500 was allocated as wages for himself to cover the period when he wasn’t working.

“Separately, Wilks also received £1,100 in business rates refunds in December 2020, just weeks prior to declaring himself bankrupt. He received a further £10,500 in subsequent weeks but failed to disclose this to the Official Receiver. On 27 September 2021, Malcolm Wilks signed a bankruptcy restriction undertaking that extends the duration of his bankruptcy for 8 years, starting on 18 December 2021.

Alan Draycott, the Deputy Official Receiver, said: “The Government loan schemes have provided a lifeline to millions of businesses across the UK – helping them to continue trading during the pandemic and protecting millions of jobs. As these three cases show, the Insolvency Service will not hesitate to investigate and use our powers against those who abused the COVID-19 support schemes.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Rishi Sunak

ICSM says bricks and mortar businesses are disappointed by Rishi Sunak’s failure to reform business rates in the budget

Despite a cut of 50% in business rates for shops, restaurants, bars and gyms of up to £110,000 there is still considerable concern over the failure of the Government to reform business rates in the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s October budget.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the 50% reduction in business rates was welcome but there was a wide range of firms hit by the Covid crisis who were in the high street but were not included.

“It’s very helpful for the hospitality industry, the night time economy and village shops and many retailers but there’s a long list of firms who will not benefit,” he said, “as the high street contains all manner of companies from printers and sign-makers to couriers and smaller manufacturers. What we need is a total overhaul of business rates so online retailers pay their fair share as opposed to the bricks and mortar businesses stumping up the lion’s share.”

Tony Danker of the CBI said: “On Business Rates, the Chancellor made real strides in making the system more palatable for businesses in the shorter term. More frequent valuations, wider reliefs and improving the incentives for firms to decarbonise their premises is what firms have been calling for. But the hard truth is that wholesale reform to unlock investment was rejected today. The Government missed the opportunity to truly reform a business rates system that diminishes Britain’s high streets and factories.”

Ian Carrotte said there had been a record number of shops closing due to the Covid lockdowns when many were effectively denied their customer base. However online retailers such as Amazon prospered but pay far less tax than the equivalent high street store he said.

He said: “Earlier this year we were led to believe the chancellor was planning on a new online sales tax with the likes of Amazon, Asos and Ocado in mind. That’s something he’s shied away from and apparently, he’s now in talks about such a tax. High streets are the heart of every town and city but increasingly you see shops boarded up. Every retailer generates business for local companies from shop fitters to printers – out of town warehouses preferred by the likes of Amazon do not – and to add insult to injury they pay far less tax.”

The 50% cut is temporary with the savings set to be continued in the next financial year – the cut in business rates for eligible firms is up to a maximum of £110,000 and the chancellor has scrapped 2022’s planned annual increase in rates for all firms for the second year in a row.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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One of Britain’s big beasts of construction has gone bust: NMCN enters administration leaving suppliers in the lurch and 1,700 out of work

The Nottinghamshire based NMCN engineering and construction giant has gone bust and have entered into administration with Grant Thornton in charge of seeking solutions to the collapsed firm.

It leaves debts of more than £40m, suppliers and contractors wondering if they will get paid along with 1,700 staff out of work.

The ‘people-focused business that works in partnership with their customers to deliver major built environment and critical national infrastructure projects across the UK’ has collapsed having failed to sign off its 2020 accounts and secure a re-financing of the business.

The company said in a statement: “NMCN today announces that the board of the company, having taken advice, has concluded that the company is no longer able to continue trading as a going concern. The board of NMCN wishes to thank all of its shareholders, customers and suppliers for their support over the years and particularly Svella and those who had intended to participate in the equity subscription that formed part of the Proposed Transaction, which has had to be cancelled.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said it was cold comfort for firms who had likely been chasing payment for weeks ahead of the collapse. He said: “It doesn’t matter how big or famous a firm is suppliers must never fall for the kudos of household name. If a company fails to pay you on time then you have to make the difficult excuse to cease giving them credit. I suspect NMCN’s demise will also force smaller businesses into liquidation if they are owed substantial amounts of money.”

The firm began life immediately after the Second World War with the name of North Midland Construction and was engaged in rebuilding Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. Hospitals, roads, schools, reservoirs and shopping centres became their stock in trade. Despite the administration it seems likely sections of the group will be sold off by Grant Thornton since much of the business is potentially profitable with pre-tax profits in 2019 of more than seven million pounds and a turnover of £400m.

ICSM believes that if the business can be sold in job lots then most of the workforce could be saved but there would be serious doubts over unpaid invoices to suppliers and contractors.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Liberty Steel’s impending collapse as furlough ends; private school shuts after 222 years; and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s film company owing millions to suppliers

The GFG Alliance that includes the UK’s Liberty Steel is likely to collapse when the furlough scheme ends at the end of September according to industry insiders. Its demise would see thousands out of work and hundreds of businesses left unpaid for services rendered.

ICSM’s Ian Carrotte has been warning of the industrial disaster for months as the unravelling of the David Cameron Greensill Capital scandal has led inevitably to the financial props to the steel business being kicked away.

“Sanjeev Gupta’s opaque finances have been at the heart of the problem,” said Ian Carrotte, “it is well documented that the GFG conglomerate is financially unsustainable and it on life support from the government’s furlough scheme. ICSM has huge concerns for the suppliers who range from the cleaners to other steel companies who are owed millions. The Government don’t want to hand Gupta any more cash and I think the likeliest outcome is the whole lot will go into administration and then the Government will step in as they can take control of the business.”

Around two million people remain on furlough prompting fears from ICSM that when the system ends it won’t just be Liberty Steel that goes under. The firm employs up to 5,000 people directly with thousands more reliant on the business. ICSM understands that 70% of Liberty Steel’s workforce are on furlough meaning 60% of their wages are paid by the taxpayer.

After 222 years a private school calls it a day

Ockbrook School has closed after more than two centuries of teaching school age children from pre-school to A levels in the sixth form. Based near Derby the school was founded in 1799 for girls before coming a co-educational boarding school in later years.

The Trustees said the school with 252 pupils had been loss making for years despite the fees of more than £4,500. Apart from the upset for pupils suddenly finding they will no longer be attending the school in September and the concerns of parents seeking alternative places suppliers are also worried by the decision which one supplier said, “came out of the blue.”

Numerous independent schools have closed since the start of the Covid-10 crisis including Ashdown house in East Sussex, the Minster School in York, and Moreton Hall Prep School in Suffolk. The reasons include parents loosing their incomes from the pandemic and pulling their children out of school and overseas students unable to travel due to the regulations.

Millions owed by a Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall business

The new owners of KEO Films, formerly owned jointly by the TV celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall has said it will try to pay off some of the money owed to freelancers. Passion Pictures bought the collapsed company this summer but when KEO crashed it owed staff and suppliers millions and insiders believe it is unlikely that all will be paid by the new owners.

Fearnley-Wittingstall and his fellow directors paid themselves millions in salaries despite the film company losing money as it ran up millions in debts. The Guardian reported that he had admitted the company had a poor reputation at paying invoices on time and hoped suppliers may get work from Passion Pictures and recoup some of their losses.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said: “This is a classic case of a celebrity using their name to gain business and to avoid paying their bills on time with the ‘do you know who I am’ excuse. We have seen this many times where a famous person hoodwinks suppliers into giving credit on terms that are totally unacceptable in normal circumstances. It’s a pretty poor show that Hugh is suggesting those out of pocket can recoup their losses by working for the new company. My advice is as always to never accept payment terms which break your own credit agreements. Just because someone is a household name doesn’t mean they can’t go bust.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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The duo at the time when portraryed as the Bonnie and Clyde of the print industry

The Bonnie and Clyde of the print industry and the strange story of how the police lost computer evidence that could have jailed a couple of fraudsters

The printing industry was rocked in recent years by a couple of fraudsters known as Bonnie and Clyde who took printers for tens of thousands of pounds and the public for even more. The nickname for Neill Malcolm Stuart John and his accomplice Clair Hunnisett of Barry in South Wales was coined by one of their victims – and it stuck.

This month ICSM has seen an email sent by the South Wales police last year to author and victim Trevor Montague which reveals an unfortunate incident that ruined the chances of bringing to book Neill Malcolm Stuart John and his accomplice Clair Hunnisett some years earlier.

It was a huge pity as at the time John was under investigation from a number of groups including ICSM and if the evidence on the seized computer had born fruit he may not have been banned as a director but banged up as well. And there was another unfortunate aspect of Trevor Montague’s relationship with the case of John – he ended up in court accused of attempting to blackmail John. The case hinged on an email he sent to John after he had been ripped off by the print farmer – an email that was considered by the police to have implied violence. Montague was eventually exonerated by the legal system but typically John seemed to get off.

Author and victim Trevor Montague

The email sent to Montague from Dc Emma Sweeney of Team 1 Cardiff and the Vale reads: “During my lengthy investigation, I conducted a warrant at Mr John’s house and seized all his computer equipment. This was then sent to be examined by our Digital forensic unit. Unfortunately, whilst it was there the premises suffered a flood and all Mr John’s equipment was damaged. As a result, it was not able to be examined. Without this evidence, the matter cannot be progressed to a satisfactory conclusion and will not satisfy disclosure requirements if the case was taken to court.”

The con was to offer the public very low prices for printing books and magazines on an internet site. They always asked for money up front – they often did process the printing through many printing companies across the UK and Europe – but never paid the printers in full. If the punters did receive their order is would be short or wrong but no money was refunded. An estimate made at the height of their operation suggested they were earning around half a million a year with virtually no overheads.

The trade press less the campaign to stop their activities

ICSM helped organise a petition, an open letter and a campaign to stop the couple continuing to trade under several names. Eventually John and Hunnisett were banned from being directors and their firms shut down by the Insolvency Service in the high court in Manchester in 2019 thanks to the work of ICSM, a victims’ group and the trade press. Even the BBC and the national press covered the story at the time – after ICSM’s numerous tip-offs.

If anyone in the industry hears that John is back and up to his old tricks do let ICSM know so we can warn everyone. He and Hunnisett split up and went their separate ways after the court hearing.

It’s a story not just about crime but of how trusting the public are with internet sites and have a willingness to pay up front when years ago you only paid when you got the goods. It is also a story of how printers continue to trust customers and assume they will pay when they send an invoice – and accept the work without checking their credit. Any printer who had contacted ICSM when receiving an order from John and Hunnisett would immediately have had a warning they were not to be trusted. So, a lesson learned for the hundreds if not thousands ripped off by the couple – who still have their freedom and looking at their separate social media accounts enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle – at everyone else’s expense.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST: “It’s about time!” New law to allow the Insolvency Service to ‘go after’ directors of phoenix companies and insolvent firms suspected of abusing Government loans and furlough payments

The passage of the Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill through parliament this summer is slow and complex but its eventual passing will be welcomed by ICSM boss Ian Carrotte.

“It’s about time,” he said, “it’s a tightening of the law that is long over due as the phoenix phenomenon has been around for years and has got worse with he Covid-19 crisis. Going after directors who have cynically dumped debt, left staff unpaid and failed to pay suppliers but have lined their pockets and had the cheek to set up shop with an identical firm days after insolvency represents the unacceptable face of business. My main concern is that words and bills are one thing but action is needed to enforce the law and that means giving the Insolvency Service the resources and staff to do the job.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM

The Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill is currently in the report stage in the House of Commons before its third reading and then a five stage passage in the House of Lords before its final reading and Royal Assent. It means it should be law later this year.

What does it mean?

The Insolvency Service will be given powers to investigate directors of companies that have been dissolved, closing a legal loophole and acting as a strong deterrent against the misuse of the dissolution process.

The process will no longer be able to be used as a method of fraudulently avoiding repayment of Government backed loans given to businesses to support them during the Coronavirus pandemic

Extension of the power to investigate also includes the relevant sanctions such as disqualification from acting as a company director for up to 15 years. These powers will be exercised by the Insolvency Service on behalf of the Business Secretary.

At present, the Insolvency Service has powers to investigate directors of live companies or those entering a form of insolvency. If wrongdoing or malpractice is found, directors can face sanctions including a ban of up to 15 years.

The measure will also help to prevent directors of dissolved companies from setting up a near identical business after the dissolution, often leaving customers and other creditors, such as suppliers or HMRC, unpaid.

The measures included in the Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill are retrospective and will enable the Insolvency Service to also tackle Directors who have inappropriately wound-up companies that have benefited from Bounce Back Loans.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Agenda West: Glamour model Katie Price promoted Forex con; don’t get caught out by fake NHS; the phoney booster jab scam; and the rip-off price hikes for break down cover in Checkaco’s consumer credit news

Celebrity model cons her followers

Celebrity glamour model Katie Price was exposed last month to have promoted a Forex scam to her 2.6 million Instagram followers. She failed to reveal she was paid thousands of pounds by rogue Forex trader Josh Chandler according to Jack Newman in the Mail Online.

Price claimed not to know it was a con and promptly fled abroad on another holiday to escape the wrath of the thousands of victims who had fallen for the scam. They vented their fury at the model having trusted her recommendation to invest in the trader’s scheme which uses the fluctuating values of international currencies to make a profit from buying low and selling high.

One victim was nurse Kate Dalrymple who told The Mail Online that she had lost £825 having been guaranteed she’d get an instant profit of £425 if she ‘transferred £100, but was then asked to pay a ‘release fee’ of £725 with the promise of receiving £4,000.’

If they had done a Checkaco credit check they would have spotted a wrong ‘un.

Get the low down on any firm, company or business for £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

Have you been affected by this? Leave a comment at https://checkaco.com/blog/

Track and Trace scam

Scammers have been phoning people at random to tell them they have been close to someone infected with Covid-19 and so they need to self-isolate.

The caller tells them they will be sent a new testing kit which gives an immediate result meaning they can end self-isolation – but it costs several hundred pounds.

Once their bank details are obtained on the phone their bank account is drained and of course no such testing kit exists.
Get the low down on any firm, company or business for £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

Have you been affected by this? Leave a comment at https://checkaco.com/blog/

Booster Covid jab offer – for cashPeople have been receiving an email saying they can have a booster Covid-19 jab if they have already been double jabbed. The text states it means they will be protected from any new variants this winter and prove a barrier against future outbreaks including the flu. Except it’s a con.

Victims are asked to pay up front for the jab and are given a link to a fake NHS website to convince them it’s genuine. Of course, once they have paid up to £500 for the ‘jab’ they discover when they contact the NHS than no such jab or appointment exists.

Always check the URL on any website as it may be similar to the real NHS website but is slightly different such as ‘NNHS’ or ‘National Healthy Service’ which reads as the NHS in short form.

Get the low down on any firm, company or business for £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

Have you been affected by this? Leave a comment at https://checkaco.com/blog/

Expensive breakdown cover

It’s not only motor insurers who jack up the cost of their cover every year in the hope the customer doesn’t spot the increased direct debit but the break down cover organisations like the RAC, AA, Green Flag and others do the same.

Take one customer who noticed the AA were about to take £370 from his bank account having been with them for 30 years when last year he paid £260 making it a massive increase. And he had not used their service in five years.

He checked the price for a new customer and was stunned to see it was £139 and so phoned the AA to complain – they said he could pay the same as last year which was more than £100 over what he would pay if he was a new member. Not surprisingly he left the AA.

Always check those standing orders and direct debits in case the company has attempted to hike the price without you noticing.
Get the low down on any firm, company or business for £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

Have you been affected by this? Leave a comment at https://checkaco.com/blog/

There are rogues out there who pose as legitimate businesses or are firms with terrible credit histories. Before you pay a cash deposit to them do a credit check with Checkaco for £7.95 and see if they are legitimate. All firms have tell-tale credit histories which reveal if they can be trusted with your money. Checkaco’s credit checks are accurate and up to date so you can spot if the trader you choose is safe – and won’t go bust. Get the low down on any firm or individual at https://checkaco.com/

The ratings are poor, fair, good or excellent – find out all their details now for just £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

Checkaco News: Glamour model Katie Price promoted Forex con; don’t get caught out by fake NHS; the phoney booster jab scam; and the rip-off price hikes for break down cover 
Celebrity model cons her followers

Celebrity glamour model Katie Price was exposed last month to have promoted a Forex scam to her 2.6 million Instagram followers. She failed to reveal she was paid thousands of pounds by rogue Forex trader Josh Chandler according to Jack Newman in the Mail Online.

Price claimed not to know it was a con and promptly fled abroad on another holiday to escape the wrath of the thousands of victims who had fallen for the scam. They vented their fury at the model having trusted her recommendation to invest in the trader’s scheme which uses the fluctuating values of international currencies to make a profit from buying low and selling high.



One victim was nurse Kate Dalrymple who told The Mail Online that she had lost £825 having been guaranteed she’d get an instant profit of £425 if she ‘transferred £100, but was then asked to pay a ‘release fee’ of £725 with the promise of receiving £4,000.’

If they had done a Checkaco credit check they would have spotted a wrong ‘un.

Get the low down on any firm, company or business for £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

Have you been affected by this? Leave a comment at https://checkaco.com/blog/

Track and Trace scam

Scammers have been phoning people at random to tell them they have been close to someone infected with Covid-19 and so they need to self-isolate.

The caller tells them they will be sent a new testing kit which gives an immediate result meaning they can end self-isolation – but it costs several hundred pounds.

Once their bank details are obtained on the phone their bank account is drained and of course no such testing kit exists.
 Get the low down on any firm, company or business for £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

Have you been affected by this? Leave a comment at https://checkaco.com/blog/
 

Booster Covid jab offer – for cashPeople have been receiving an email saying they can have a booster Covid-19 jab if they have already been double jabbed. The text states it means they will be protected from any new variants this winter and prove a barrier against future outbreaks including the flu. Except it’s a con.

Victims are asked to pay up front for the jab and are given a link to a fake NHS website to convince them it’s genuine. Of course, once they have paid up to £500 for the ‘jab’ they discover when they contact the NHS than no such jab or appointment exists.

Always check the URL on any website as it may be similar to the real NHS website but is slightly different such as ‘NNHS’ or ‘National Healthy Service’ which reads as the NHS in short form.

Get the low down on any firm, company or business for £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

Have you been affected by this? Leave a comment at https://checkaco.com/blog/

Expensive breakdown cover
 
It’s not only motor insurers who jack up the cost of their cover every year in the hope the customer doesn’t spot the increased direct debit but the break down cover organisations like the RAC, AA, Green Flag and others do the same.

Take one customer who noticed the AA were about to take £370 from his bank account having been with them for 30 years when last year he paid £260 making it a massive increase. And he had not used their service in five years.

He checked the price for a new customer and was stunned to see it was £139 and so phoned the AA to complain – they said he could pay the same as last year which was more than £100 over what he would pay if he was a new member. Not surprisingly he left the AA.

Always check those standing orders and direct debits in case the company has attempted to hike the price without you noticing.
 Get the low down on any firm, company or business for £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

Have you been affected by this? Leave a comment at https://checkaco.com/blog/
  There are rogues out there who pose as legitimate businesses or are firms with terrible credit histories. Before you pay a cash deposit to them do a credit check with Checkaco for £7.95 and see if they are legitimate. All firms have tell-tale credit histories which reveal if they can be trusted with your money. Checkaco’s credit checks are accurate and up to date so you can spot if the trader you choose is safe – and won’t go bust. Get the low down on any firm or individual at https://checkaco.com/
 




The ratings are poor, fair, good or excellent – find out all their details now for just £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/


For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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On the left is Darren Jones, left, who chairs the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee, and Stephen Timms, right, chairman of the Work and Pensions committee and on the right is Rob Templeman the former CEO of Debenhams and Jonathan Feuer , a managing partner at CVC

Scandal of the asset strippers: ICSM’s Ian Carrotte backs parliament to quiz Debenhams duo who took the money and ran (leaving suppliers unpaid and 19,000 staff unemployed)

There’s been a trend in recent months of asset strippers taking over big retailers and gutting them to line their own pockets and leaving a mess as they disappear.

The latest example is that of Debenhams which was seemingly deliberately run down by the likes of Jonathan Feuer of a private equity consortium of CVC, Merrill Lynch and Texas Pacific Group, which owned the firm for three years between 2003 and 2006. He paid himself £50m while in post – more than the current deficit for the pension fund which has a massive black hole meaning pensioners will 10% less than they would expect. And then there was the former CEO of Debenhams Rob Templeton who paid himself a million pounds a year from 2003 to 2011 when the company was struggling and many shop workers were on minimum wage.

“The landmark stores were part of our high streets,” said Ian Carrotte, “and should have remained as gold mines for the owners. Instead, they allowed them to become outdated and run down while shafting them financially. Now there are 19,000 shop workers out of work, suppliers owned millions and our high streets much poorer as a result. I hope the parliamentarians haul them over the coals.”

Darren Jones, chairman of the business, energy and industrial strategy committee, and Stephen Timms, who chairs the work and pensions committee will lead the questioning of the multi-million pound former executives of the department stores after having previously criticised their handling of one of the UK’s most famous shops.

BooHoo bought the name and online aspects of the business when it finally closed in May.

Writing for the Daily Mail’s This Is Money Richard Marsden reported: “But, in 2007, the Financial Times estimated he and two other directors made personal profits of £103million from when the company was refloated in 2006, with Templeman netting £41million. Meanwhile, TPG Capital’s one-time European boss Philippe Costeletos, 56, said to have been the ‘mastermind’ of the Debenhams takeover – is also thought to have enjoyed multi-million-pound bonuses. During that period, the firm was loaded with more than £1billion debt, £1.2billion was extracted in dividends – almost double the profits made over the period – while store freeholds were sold and leased back, on expensive, upwards-only rental contracts, to raise £495million.  Dozens more branches were opened, adding dramatically to the company’s rent bills which rose 55 per cent in the next ten years.”

Below is a list of firms that have recently got into financial trouble:

CONSTRUCTION, PROPERTY AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES
Administrators Appointed
Preston Paving (UK) Limited    06339407
UKL Projects Limited    05556420
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Castle Construction Building Limited    06830720
Masters Building Solutions Limited    10329327
Orange Civil Engineering Limited    11201582
Supreme Building Developments Limited    11185470
The Only Way is Kirk Limited    07563845
 
Liquidators Appointed
1st Solutions Infrastructure Contractors Limited    10766161
Bramber Construction Co Limited    01354167
Brian Hall Limited    08651094
Conform Concrete & Formwork Specialists Limited    04668122
Construction & Fit Out Solutions Ltd    10319223
Costhorpe Building Products Limited    03031707
Dents Fabrication Limited    10522881
Ethical Construction Limited    12486802
GFL Construction Limited    08864377
Luca Construction limited    10724706
M J P Joinery Services Limited    09784108
Northwood D&B Vision Limited    12108828
P and P Groundworks Limited    07480887
Platinum Home Refurbishments Limited    12308899
SB 82 LTD    12337959
TRW Northwest Limited    10410879
URBN Construction Limited    09689767
Walker Electrical Projects Limited    11246243
YSG Group Limited    11569405
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Advanced Cooling Solutions Limited    04758183
Hopkinson Plant Hire and Construction Limited    03749126
Plant Home Limited    05715808
RMP Homes Limited    03345434
The Building Renaissance Company Limited    03624100
White Rose Developments Limited    01968037
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Orchard Brickwork Limited    08562134
 
Winding up orders
Chic Building Limited    11305153
Ellis Walls and Ceilings Limited    07174441
Home Counties Interiors Limited    12051053
Purple Development Homes Limited    11621690
SPD Group NW Limited    09907101
 
FOOD AND DRINK MAKERS
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Jake’s Vegan Steaks Limited    10776376
Masterchef Luton Limited    08847894
Maya Foods Limited    11310486
VF Foods (UK) Limited    09202578
Wingtip Brewing Company Limited    09427769
 
Liquidators Appointed
Goa Spice (Mexborough) Limited    11849430
China Village 118 Limited    11942276
Mrs Canopy Limited    12226365
The Field Kitchen (UK) Limited    07457911
The Tasted of China (Yorkshire) Limited    09947852
Wingtip Brewing Company Limited    09427769
Yokkmokk Limited    11248055
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
John W F Hughes & Co Limited    00826647
R Jackson (Potatoes) Limited    00141592
Selby Salads Limited    04204258
 
Winding up orders
The Meat Company (Sussex) Limited    11974869
 
HOSPITALITY, TRAVEL, EVENTS AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Boutique Restaurant Group Limited    10874825
Downtown Food And Drink Limited    11496874
The Coliseum (London) Limited    11160730
 
Liquidators Appointed
A Nineteen Company Limited    11448516
Bar Opus Limited    08460427
Bay of Bengal Limited    11057624
Holdsworth Designs Limited    04850315
Horns Mill Limited    11855661
Inception Global Limited    08154233
Lodge Events Limited    11996880
Lounge India Lowestoft Limited    11352853
Manor House Spa Limited    09691932
Sea View Hotel Swansea Limited    11467614
Opus Restaurant Limited    05244581
Scorpion Event Production Limited    03879627
Shakes & Steaks Company Limited    11963742
Shepherd Cox Hotels (Manchester North) Limited    10604330
Studio Bea Limited    11518330
The Rose & crown (Hoylandswaine) Limited    11438999
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
A-I-R Hotels Limited    01148159
Hellene Travel Limited    03644980
Studytrips Limited    02611466
Studytrips Travel Limited    03336697
Tourico Holidays UK Limited    07194495
UEI Restaurants Limited    07325381
 
LOGISTICS AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES
Administrators Appointed
Trans 2 Logistics Limited    09621600
Venian Warehousing And Distribution Limited    10439127
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Airline Taxis Limited    07884904
Dutch Logistics Limited    09443819
Fuel Specialist Cars Limited    10445328
JB Rail Solutions (Doncaster) Limited    09943848
JCM Transport Nantwich Limited    06623138
MW truck Assist Limited    10215056
Nosa Ajanaku Ajanaku Driver Services Limited    09528273
 
Liquidators Appointed
Annett Road Garage Limited    12235726
Bristol Freight Limited    11221639
DG Transport (Manchester) Limited    10145280
Easy Taxis (NW) Limited    12000235
Fast Despatch Logistics (Croydon) Limited    11612891
Fast Despatch Logistics (Dartford) Limited    11610277
Freight Fulfilment Limited    09789069
Hall’s of West Moors Limited    11512093
Hope Commercials Limited    04328571
IB&Co Services Limited    10146265
J A Plant Hire Limited    10512334
Johnston Rigging and Lifting Limited    09023277
LRP Transport Limited    11114389
Lutterworth Transport & Trailer Services Limited    06616698
MW Truck Care (Kent) Limited    12600098
MW Truck Care Limited    12280566
New Rodley Motors Ltd    07918673
Red Century Logistics Limited    07857556
Rhys Davies Freight Logistics Limited    01692338
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
J.D. Birch & Son Limited    01194548
Autoteq Limited    01434750
Hobby Caravans (UK) Limited    01741984
Road Rail Services Limited    09160705
Stobart Rail Freight Limited    05961679
Stobart Transport & Distribution Limited    05907280
 
MANUFACTURING
Administrators Appointed
Form Manufacturing Limited    09462616
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
A S Fashion (Leicester) Limited    10026384
Innocence Clothing Limited    04184514
Sigmetech Limited    12012729
 
Liquidators Appointed
Ancestors of Dover Limited    02742815
Coleford Energy Limited    08163696
Forever Textiles Limited    10975106
Harton Services Limited    03371021
Hand Tools Sheffield Limited    07461075
HP Engineering & Fabrications Limited    10440455
Osprey Solar Limited    08215492
Strategic Reserve Power Limited    09160218
Williams Service Suppliers Limited    12177262
Yolo Attire Limited    11217901
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Brook Wind One Limited    10138767
Brook Wind Two Limited    10198534
Stark Solar Limited    10259098
Streetwise Fabrications Limited    06652243
 
Winding up orders
Oakhurst Engineers North West Limited    11354777
 
PRINTING AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES
Administrators Meetings Para 51
Monument Paper Bag Company Limited (The)    00481099
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Premium Brand Management Limited    07252881
Ipex Communications Limited    12109835
 
Liquidators Appointed
Clarendon Press Gloucestershire Limited    05144567
Crawford Shopfitters Limited    11217755
Devon Paper Bedding Limited    08858005
Doublesix Digital Publishing Limited    06429398
Kedoku Limited    09945999
Samantha Maria Limited    09226756
SK Publications Limited    034988366
Reevo Media LIMITED    11378857
RPW Design Limited    09073948
The Branding Team Limited    06594483
The Office Product Network Limited    06904772
The Shopfittings Store London Limited    11211206
TLS Marketing Limited    12341983
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Buzzword Media Limited    09072793
CJ Design Consultancy Limited    08351069
DQH Design Limited    08242731
Expression Marketing Limited    08141812
Griffin Design Consultancy Limited    07600568
Larkmoor Advisory Limited    11390206
Smudge Media Limited    10251647
Tech & Media Group Limited    10414860
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Aequitas Packing (UK) Limited    08913537
SGK Interiors Limited    09450679
 
RETAIL, WHOLESALE AND ALLIED INDUSTRIES
Administrators Appointed
Clement Browne Limited    07184480
 
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed s 136
Your Car Solutions Limited    10398386
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Akal Nation Limited    10864888
Clapham Wine Company Limited    08074846
Easylinks Trading Limited    03158627
Queen B Cosmetics Limited    11548852
Red Salons Limited    07946145
Romford Balti Limited    11574753
VF Foods (UK) Limited    09202578
 
Liquidators Appointed
Amcam Limited    08298525
Bluestar Foods Limited    12435655
Compass Music Ipswich Limited    04648229
Cotswold Creative Living Limited    09055064
Cocoa Cashmere Limited    07063801
Goa Spice (Mexborough) Limited    11849430
Interstate Design Ltd    08999203
Jolly Colliers 122 Heanor Limited    12315226
Marston Road Store Limited    09614947
NU U Salon (Hair and Beauty) Limited    09480727
SA Food Stores Limited    10976928
Shoe Embassy London Limited    10448917
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Cary Trading Limited    11223836
 
Petitions to Wind Up
Cherhil Limited    10836497
 
Winding up orders
Golf Depot Limited    02995248
 
VARIOUS INDUSTRIES
Administrators Appointed
Sumatra Copper & Gold PLC    05777015
 
Administrators Meetings Para 51
Essex County Laundry, Limited    00140030
 
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed s 136
Lordrite Wooden Floors Limited    06599600
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Brickcroft Social Club 2018 Limited    11604024
Fenwick School UK Limited    12439249
Keating Sports Horses Limited    11773475
The Elite Education Group Limited    12122167
Sterling Aesthetics Limited    08416715
 
Liquidators Appointed
Accident Reporting Services Limited    06389070
Aintree MMA Limited    10392131
Cool Kids Out of School Limited    06130632
DAG Fishing Limited 11965099
DMT Collections Limited    10420287
Evergreen Education Limited    11363383
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
Atkinson Tractors Limited    00880460
Danbury Motor Caravans Limited    04385764
Guy Mascolo Charity    07729927
Mayfair Healthcare (Durham) Limited    06428250
Westminster Local Education Partnership Limited    06458328
 
Winding up orders
ZRT (Bolton) Limited    09320788

 
Types of Insolvency


Administration
Administration applies to limited companies and partnerships and is intended to get the company out of trouble and trading again if possible. Administrators can be appointed to a company that is unable, or is likely to become unable, to pay its debts. They can be appointed by the courts (on application from a creditor, directors or partners), the holder of a qualifying floating charge over the assets of the business, or the company or its directors. An administrator’s primary goal is to rescue the company as a going concern. If this isn’t possible, the administrator will try to get a better result for the creditors than would be possible if the company was wound up. If neither of these is possible, the administrator will sell the company’s property to make at least a partial payment to one or more secured or preferential creditors, such as employees or the bank.
Administrators Meetings Para 51
This statement by the administrator of his proposals must be accompanied by an invitation to an initial creditors’ meeting (Sch B1, para 51(1)).
Bankruptcy
This can only apply to individuals (including sole traders and individual members of a partnership). Bankruptcy petitions may be presented to the court by the individual, by creditors who are owed £750 or more, or by the supervisor of an individual voluntary arrangement. A bankruptcy order is made by the court.
Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA)
A company comes to an arrangement with its creditors to pay the debts in full or in part over time. A CVA begins with the company (or its adviser) drafting a formal proposal at a Creditors’ Meeting to pay part or all of the debts. If the proposal is accepted by the creditors, the arrangement will become legally binding and the directors will retain control of the company.
Compulsory Liquidation
This is the winding up of a company or a partnership by a court order (a winding up order). A petition is normally presented to the court by a creditor stating that he or she is owed a sum of money by the company and that the company cannot pay.
The Official Receiver becomes liquidator when the order is made but an Insolvency Practitioner will be appointed to take over if the company has significant assets. The liquidator’s role is to realise the company’s assets, pay all the fees and charges arising from the liquidation, and pay the creditors as far as funds allow in a strict order of priority.
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed S 136
When a winding-up order has been made, the Official Receiver is initially appointed as liquidator (section 136, IA 1986). The company’s creditors and contributories may appoint another individual, who must be a registered insolvency practitioner, to act as liquidator (section 139, IA 1986). More than one liquidator can be appointed to act jointly.
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation
Here the shareholders pass a resolution to wind the company up without the need for a court order. A Creditors’ Meeting is held to nominate the appointment of a liquidator and consider a statement of affairs. Creditors can appoint a committee to work with the liquidator, whose role is to realise the company’s assets, pay all the fees and charges arising from the liquidation, and pay the creditors as far as funds allow in a strict order of priority.
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meeting
Creditors are now ‘deemed to have consented’ to a decision or resolution if 10% of creditors (by value) have not objected to it. In other words, if objections are not received by the specified decision date, creditors are ‘deemed to have consented’ to the decision or resolution.
Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)
An individual comes to an arrangement with creditors to pay his/her debts in full or in part over time as an alternative to bankruptcy. The arrangement is set up by a licensed Insolvency Practitioner who will put it to a meeting of creditors. If the proposal is accepted at the meeting, the agreement reached with the creditors will be legally binding. An Interim Order is sometimes issued by a court and will immediately protect the debtor from any legal action by creditors.
Petitions to Wind Up
A winding up petition is a legal notice put forward to the court by a creditor. The application, in effect, asks the court to liquidate the company as they believe the company is insolvent. Proceeds of the liquidation can be used to pay back creditors.

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ICSM CREDIT
For information on ICSM visit www.icsmcredit.com or call 0844 854 1850.
ICSM, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR. Tel: 0844 854 1850. www.icsmcredit.comIan.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

ICSM CREDIT
For information on ICSM visit www.icsmcredit.com or call 0844 854 1850.
ICSM, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR. Tel: 0844 854 1850. www.icsmcredit.comIan.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

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Getty images

Will an England win really boost the economy and do football clubs actually make money – the answer is not the one you want to hear

ITV recorded 27.6 million viewers for the England v Denmark football match in the European Nations tournament last week making the advertising breaks some of the most valuable to firms since the early 1980s when there were only three channels.

Deliveroo benefitted in particular as they recovered some of their losses from the slump in share price earlier this year. However public transport was down in numbers during the game as were cab fares so not everyone benefitted. Betting shops Ladbrokes and Corals will benefit from the estimated £17.5 million expected to be placed in bets on the final while publicans believe that that around 13 million pints will be sold on Sunday afternoon and evening although more pints would be pulled if Covid wasn’t around.

Statistics show that after the 1966 final between England and West Germany resulted in a 1.5% rise in GDP and similarly the economy was boosted immediately after the London Olympics in 2012. What the optimists don’t like to tell us the slight slump following the boost as the economy returned to normal. There’s no denying an England win boosts public moral south of Hadrian’s wall and east of Offa’s Dyke – and inevitably that results in more sales in the shops. An England defeat – to look on the darker side also results in more domestic violence which has a negative effect on business.

 Output, or gross domestic product (GDP), climbed by 1.4 per cent in 2012 and 2.2 per cent the next year. And in 1966, GDP edged up by 1.5 per cent.

However despite the hype football at club level isn’t the lucrative cash cow it likes to think it is. Just remember the European Super League (ESL) fiasco. Six English football clubs threw their hats into the ring for the new ESL and when fans, managers, players and even the Government objected they quickly withdrew their support for the league.

Pic: TalkSport

One of the motivations to join the was the huge amount cash on offer. Morgan J Stanley in America were thought to be offering millions in a welcome package as the bank prepared to bank roll the league with the prospect of increased TV revenues. It had the added attraction of being a closed league with no relegation meaning clubs always knew how much cash they would get each season and could plan ahead without fear of failure. And yet the money on offer is nothing compared to debts most so-called super rich Premiership clubs have accumulated. Chelsea owe £1.3bn, Spurs £384m, Manchester United £271m and Liverpool £157m. Most businesses with that amount of debt would be on the brink of collapse – like Liberty Steel is today with their debts of more than a billion pounds.

Normal business practices go out of the window when it comes to football clubs as egos get the better of the owners and directors as they spend ever more money on players to chase elusive glory. If the richest clubs in the land cannot balance their books then there’s little hope for those further down the league. Surprisingly the smaller the club the more likely there is to be fiscal discipline as they are run on a shoestring budget with players often playing for free or very little.

Newport County FC in 1980. The club had played in Europe with the best but went bust and it took 30 years to reform and eventually gain entry in the Football League

Since the 1980s Newport County, Bury, Rushden & Diamonds, Chester, Wigan, Mansfield. Wimbledon, Maidstone, Aldershot, Middlesborough, Tannmere Rovers, Walsall, Northampton, Kettering, Maidstone, Hartlepool, Barnet, Exeter, Gillingham, Doncaster, Millwall, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Chester, Portsmouth, Hull, QPR, Halifax, Notts County, Barnsley, Leicester, Port Vale, Derby County, Wrexham, Cambridge United, Rotherham, Crawley, Leeds, Luton, Southampton, Stockport, Northwich Victoria, Salisbury, Plymouth argyle, Rhyle and Coventry City  have all hit the buffers owing collectively millions to suppliers, landlords and the taxman. Some entered administration and found buyers almost straight away, others lost everything including their ground and have been reformed by the fans and others have been able to negotiate a CVA with creditors. In each case suppliers – from the local printers of the match programs to the caterers supplying burgers and chips – were left unpaid. And yet most have either managed to trade their way out of administration of in effect done a phoenix.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM gives this sage advice to potential suppliers: “If you decide to trade with a club then don’t go in too deep, stick to your payment terms of 30 days maximum and be prepared to suffer if they go bust. It’s best to be a supporter of the team as at least that way you could argue you have invested in the club and could solve your conscience that way if the worst happens. My advice is treat clubs like you would any other business – and don’t let them fob you off with late payments.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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The strange case of companies sold for a pound (but there’s always a catch)

This month high end confectionary producer Hotel Chocolat have bought cosmetics firm Rabot 1745 for £4. That is less than the cheapest box of chocolates that Hotel Chocolat sell. There is a reason firms are sold for a song and Rabot 1745 is no exception – it was making a massive loss. Despite losing £400,000 last year Hotel Chocolat CEO Angus Thirlwell is convinced they can turn the firm around as both outfits feature products made from the Theobroma cacao tree. Hotel Chocolat uses cocoa from the seeds for chocolate and Rabot 1745 processes the cocoa beans to create cosmetics and health spa treatments so the purchase makes sense since Hotel Chocolat owns several cacao plantations in St Lucia.

When firms are on the point of collapse and riddled with debt they usually shut up shop, call in administrators to see if a buyer can be found as they continue trading and put themselves up for sale. The price tag varies but an eye-catching price like £1 or even the shockingly high price of £4 can clinch a deal.

In 2016 the DIY store Homebase was sold for £1 by Hilco although its debts were thought to be around £1bn so there was a catch. There was another one in 2015 when Sir Philip Green sold BHS for £1 to Retail Acquisitions who discovered its pension scheme was insolvent. And in 2013 when City Link was sold to Better Capital for £1 the buyers spent millions trying to turn the debt ridden firm around only for it to fail. For a £1 investment they ended up paying more than £40 million trying to make it profitable.

Others have included The Readers Digest that was sold for £1 in 2014 by Mike Luckwell despite being valued four years earlier for £13m. And Swansea City AFC was also sold for £1 in 2001 but eventually rose back up through the leagues to gain Premiership status for a time but currently reside in The Championship (the second level of the league) and posted a pre-tax profit of £2.7m last year. So it can work as proven at Chelsea where the club was bought for £1 in 1982 with debts of £1.5m. Russia’s Roman Abramovich bought the club 21 years later for £140m and it is now has a turnover of more than £400m.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Printing industry braces itself for the end of furlough scheme as companies come out of hibernation to a bleak autumn

When Zanders Paper went into liquidation last month and Clarendon Press in Gloucestershire and Datum Colour Print in Hatfield also called it a day it became clear that the industry has taken a hit from the Covid-19 crisis.

Inflation is set to rise to 3% this summer while business failures increase as costs rise and orders fall. It’s a pretty depressing scenario as when the furlough system ends zombie firms will collapse.

Printing and allied industries have always had a tough time when it comes to being paid – even in the best of times – but clearly the economic downturn triggered by the Covid-19 crisis has made things worse. Add to that much of the industry’s clients are in the hospitality, travel and retail sectors – and of course there has been a steady decline in the publishing of magazines and newspapers – it all adds up to a cut in clients.

Ian Carrotte

Ian Carrotte has seen it all before having been witness to the recessions of the 1980s, 1990s and the Credit Crunch of 2008 when many print firms were left high and dry.

He said: “Late payment has always been an issue for printers as many adopt the outdated ‘my word is my bond’ approach and consider a simple handshake as a contract. Clients will use all manner of excuses to spin out payment if that is the case but surprisingly during the pandemic things have not got worse. I think the reason is partly because many of the least efficient at credit control had gone to the wall before Covid-19 arrived. Yes quite a few printing firms have collapsed in the last year which we list every month in our newsletter – but perhaps not as many as we might expect compared to many industries. But when those firms who have been hibernating wtih the furlough scheme and grants come off the drip feeds this autumn they will face a bleak time and many will go bust.

“Accounts departments have by and large improved credit control and that is another factor – and we constantly tell ICSM members not to trade with firms with famous names who flagrantly break credit terms. Take Carillion – they boasted on their website that they were as safe as houses and suppliers would be paid on 120 days. Well, we know what happened there.

“Printers should stick to their credit terms – if it is 30 days – then put a customer on stop if they fail to pay up. Dialogue is good. If a client rings and say they have a cash flow issue but offer to pay a chunk of what is owed with a timetable of when the balance is to be paid that is good. It’s when they don’t answer the phone or your emails that there’s a problem.

“I know Covid has presented problems, but people buy people – so always visit your customers whenever possible including their accounts department and keep things friendly and always diplomatic.

“ICSM has always been an advocate of legislation that forces firms to pay on time and allows their suppliers to charge interest on late payments. Governments come under pressure from big business to resist new laws governing credit but for a typical SME or sole trader they are only an few invoices away from a cash flow crisis and potential insolvency.”

The Government explains your rights in charging interest. They state: “The interest you can charge if another business is late paying for goods or a service is ‘statutory interest’ – this is 8% plus the Bank of England base rate for business to business transactions. You cannot claim statutory interest if there’s a different rate of interest in a contract.”

Ian Carrotte feels that more can be done in tightening credit terms – especially for small businesses, sole traders and the self-employed.

“We offer members a free micro debt recovery service,” he said, “ICSM members complete a form online and it goes to the debtor – usually for less than £1,000 – and it can be several years since the invoice was issued – but unpaid. That works really well about 80% of the time.

“For large amounts we have our inhouse debt collection service and in an average year that will secure payment of hundreds of thousands of pounds to members left out of pocket. A large debt can send a company under so speed is important and since ICSM is a third party in the effort to secure payment the debtor will often pay up at the first contact. They are basically using your cash as a free loan.

“This is a true story: it was a printing company in Devon who is still a member of ICSM. They were on an industrial trading estate and had a mix of smaller runs for shops and small businesses and much large print runs for big companies. Cashflow was a nightmare as most of their customers paid late. A shop came up for rent around the corner on the high street of the town – and so they took it on as it was cheaper than the larger unit and put in their presses and associated kit into the shop and opened for business. Customers would pay up front with an order and some would pay on collection or delivery. It was simply a change of mindset with their clients. Cashflow was solved.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Picture Capital FM. See the story at https://www.capitalfm.com/news/tv-film/love-island/furlough-scheme-millions-claiming/

ICSM Business Information: everything you wanted to know about the furlough scheme but were afraid to ask (and yes, millionaire Love Island stars claimed furlough payments)

For freelancers, sole traders and many self-employed the Government’s cash hand-outs of grants and furlough payments have been elusive. But some very wealthy companies claimed the money despite being cash rich. It even included Love Island stars as reported by Capital FM. Whatever you think of the system it has saved many companies – but in the meantime here’s a few casts about the system.

In January 5.1 million workers were on furlough dropping to 3.4 million in April and falling further now.

Furlough changes on July 1st, 2021, with firms having to fork out 10% of their workers’ salaries with the Government (the tax payer) coughing up 70% and by September that changes to a 60% – 20% split. On October 1st it ends.

There is a limit of £2,500 per month for the highest earners.

Food and drink service, hotels, and air transport were some of the hardest-hit industries.

One third of employers were using the scheme in April.

The scheme has so far cost the government £66 billion pounds.

The scheme applies across the UK.

Controversy arose when wealthy firms claimed furlough cash for workers such as Love Island stars, the Hinduja brothers, Sit Jim Ratcliffe, Barrat Homes, Halfords and Wetherspoons.

Being furloughed does not affect your right to sick pay, annual leave, maternity, and redundancy payments.

Employers already have to pay pension and National Insurance contributions for their workers.

The Government is upping the costs to try and ween firms off the scheme at which point they have to decide to can the workers, go back into full production or go bust.

Experts believe unemployment will rise when it ends.

Inflation is also expected to rise due to the shortages and quantitative easing (printing money)

To claim furlough wages visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wages-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Picture: The Guardian

Danger sign for suppliers: when a customer changes payment terms to 90 days and beyond (as Thomas Cook did before collapse)

It all began in 2014 when Thomas Cook extended its payment terms for suppliers to 90s days. In 2019 it went bust owing suppliers £1.75 billion. It’s total liabilities to customers, banks and lenders was £9 billion. Only between £176 million and £244 million is likely to be recovered by the administrators according to the Insolvency Service who published the eye-watering figures this month.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the extension of the payment terms in 2014 should have been a red light to suppliers. He said: “From the window cleaner at their HQ to the fuel companies and airports, an alarm should have sounded. A similar extension was announced by Carillion when they pushed their payment terms to 120 days and even boasted about it on their website by effectively saying suppliers should have comfort in trading with such a solid company. If a company is solvent there is no reason why it cannot pay on 30 days. Yes there can be special arrangements but if a firm suddenly pushes the limit out to months then stop trading with them as there is something wrong happening.”

The Insolvency Service said that total estimated asset realisations of up to £244 million excludes the costs of realising the assets. They said: “Those realisations to date include the sale of retail outlets, aircraft landing slots, intellectual property rights, subsidiary and joint venture businesses and the collection of currency and cash from retail stores.”

Ian Carrotte said it was a classic case of a company that had borrowed and borrowed with debts of £9 billion which they could not service. He said: “Carillion owed £1.5 billion to lenders, Debenhams owed around a billion in loans and debts, Arcadia had debts of around £750 million while Liberty Steel owes around a billion or more depending on how you add up the various Gupta companies. Essentially these type of debts make a company unsustainable and although not many tears are shed when banks lose out it is always the suppliers like printers, hauliers and stationers etc, plus the staff who pay the price.”

Although this chart was published by the Government in 2018 it gives an idea of the continuing problem:

Company% Invoices not paid within agreed terms
GRAINGER & WORRALL ENGINEERING LIMITED96
PARTS ALLIANCE GROUP LIMITED95
GRAINGER & WORRALL MACHINING LIMITED93
CLIPPER LOGISTICS PLC92
ASHTEAD PLANT HIRE COMPANY LIMITED92
W & J LINNEY LIMITED92
TNT EXPRESS ICS LIMITED91
BOUGHEY DISTRIBUTION LIMITED90
MEDTRONIC LIMITED89
SIMMONS & SIMMONS LLP89
Source: Gov.uk 11 January 2018 

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Loyalists take part in an anti-Northern Ireland Protocol rally in Portadown. Brian Lawless/PA Wire for the Belfast Telegraph

The Northern Ireland Protocol piles up problems for businesses with a warning many firms will go bust as costs spiral and there’s discontent on the streets

David Cameron used to say the Brynglas tunnel on the M4 into Wales was like a foot on the throat of the economy. Choking the M4 with long tailbacks as the motorway went from three to two lanes. You could say the same about the Northern Ireland protocol as the newly installed border between the province and the rest of the UK is having a disastrous effect on business. The Conservative Government may have got Brexit done – but they have certainly ‘done’ Northern Ireland.

The BBC’s Emma Vardy interviewed James Allen, this spring who is the MD of Allen Logistics whose trucks pass backwards and forwards across the Irish Sea. He said: “We have had to use our own initiative to learn and adapt in a very short space of time. We have spent countless hours on the phone explaining the processes to customers.”

Pic: BBC

Hauliers now pay between £50 to £350 extra per pallet on average with each pallet having to be checked amounting to an extra four hours in turn-around time. Logistics UK estimate each truck spends an extra hour at the border posts and half have suffered cancelled deliveries or major delays. Stena Line Ferries said that freight traffic is down by a third while traffic along Scotland’s A74 to Stranraer is also down. It all adds up to a crisis in the making as Loyalists in Belfast take to the streets and the threats of violence increase. The main reason for the anger is a sense of betrayal as Boris Johnson promised there would be no border but reneged on his promise when he signed the deal with the EU.

Northern Ireland is not a basket case as many believe with huge bailouts from Westiminster. Scotland, Wales, The North West of England, Cumbria and the Midlands all consumer far more in Government hand-outs than the province while trade with the Republic has helped business communities on both sides of the border.

Discontent is growing among Loyalists who feel betrayed by the Government

The crisis that is building will only lead to one result and that is economic gloom for many sectors in Ulster. Speaking to Emma Deighan of the Belfast Telegraph Belfast-based Baker Tilly Mooney Moore warned that from July 1 — the date when the UK government will gradually reintroduce some of the insolvency-related rules that had been suspended because of Covid — many businesses could face collapse.

The firm said in a comment to Emma that Northern Ireland has seen a relatively modest number of insolvency cases filed during 2020/21 so far, largely due to financial assistance provided by the Government and the Bank of England to help businesses survive the pandemic. It said these measures may have extended the life of businesses that would not have survived under normal economic conditions, thereby creating so-called ‘zombie’ companies.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the rest of the UK was also liable to see a rise in insolvencies once the props of furloughing were kicked away. He said the province was on a par with Devon and Cornwall when it came to the size of the economy so there are far fewer insolvencies. He said: “With the problems of imports across the Irish Sea business is being squeezed and with Covid’s restrictions it is a recipe for disaster. My advice to firms trading with zombie firms in the province is to stop giving credit – as just as in the rest of the UK, insolvencies will rise later this year.”

Because of the grants and furlough scheme available to business during the pandemic overall insolvencies are down compared to the last two years but the economic has taken a massive hit. Ian Carrotte said sooner or later the country will have to pay for the £372bn cost of Covid-19 – and Northern Ireland will take the biggest hit – meaning there’s more than just economic problems to come on the streets of Belfast.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Charles Ponzi in custody

With the death of fraudster Bernie Madoff a look back at a history of stock market scams from Charles Ponzi to Levi John Coyle

A friend once said of people scammed into believing get rich quick schemes that we all want to believe we can escape the mundane truth that we have to work for a living if we want money. It’s just tempting to believe the snake oil salesman and buy into the fantasy of getting rich by investing cash.

Bernie Madoff arrested in the USA. Pic: New York Times

Bernie Madoff 

With the death in prison this week of fraudster Bernie Madoff it is perhaps pertinent to recall that financial scandals have been around since money existed. The Pretorian Guard in Classical Rome attempted to sell the Roman Empire to gullible wannabe Emperors and millions changed hands and was lost. Putting aside the South Sea Bubble, the Black Tulip Bubble and the 1719 Mississippi Scheme and other cons the modern fraud of get rich quick begins with Charles Ponzi.

Ponzi

The Italian American found there was a simple way to make a profit through International Reply Coupons (IRCs). A parcel posted from a country like Italy which in 1919 had a week economy and posted to the USA with a strong economy the receiver would also get a coupon to buy stamps for the return of the parcel in the currency of the USA. The difference between the two currencies meant a sizable profit if the stamps were traded instead of being used to send back the parcel. Ponzi set up a company promising up to 100% profit for investors in his Securities Exchange Company which attracted up to $32bn in today’s money. Ordinary people, banks and institutions signed up hoping for the massive profits – bringing Ponzi at one stage a million dollars a week. As with all Ponzi schemes ever since it was fine until investors wanted to cash in their stake – which is what happened. Within months financial journalists were saying the classic line: “if it’s took good to be true then it probably isn’t.”

The scheme collapsed and Charles Ponzi was imprisoned after being found guilty of fraud. Since then we have had Ivar Krueger in the 1920s who set up a proposed world monopoly of safety matches which attracted millions in investment until the Wall Street Crash of 1929 when investors wanted their money back. As the scheme unravelled as there was no such monopoly and Krueger shot himself rather than face justice.

Japan’s Nami Pic Wall Street Journal

Rip-offs

In 1986 Barry Minkow’s ZZZBest cleaning company boasted huge returns but having raised a stock valuation of $200m the firm collapsed – as you’ve guessed it – investors wanted to take money out only to discover the firm didn’t even exist. In a way Minkow was no different from Ken Lay of Enron who was the CEO of the doomed investment company with 22,000 staff in 2000. Alas the company was not worth the $101bn it boasted but was a complex network of scams which we might charitably call cooking the books. Thousands of individuals and businesses loss fortunes when it collapsed soon afterwards.

Levi John Coyle

Conmen

America doesn’t have a monopoly of fraudsters. Take Japan’s Kazutsugi Nami’s investment firm L&G which netted £1.5bn before its collapse in 2007, and South Korea’s Daewoo group accounting scandalthat inflated the firm’s value to $70bn before investors pulled the plug by wishing to realise their profits. And in Britain there’s a fraudster who is still on the run after trading fake shares in a non-existent company. At the heart of the 2010 ‘boiler room scam’ is Levi John Coyle, 36, from Colchester, in Essex, who is wanted by the police after selling £700,000 worth of fake shares. He was tried and found guilty in his absence and sentenced to jail but has disappeared – once his investors wanted their money back.

It’s a predictable trajectory – the promise of huge dividends far in excess of any market equivalents – initial pay outs proving falsely it’s working – attracting more investments and glowing write ups in the financial press – before someone twigs that all is not right.

Bernie Madoff 

And that is what happened to Bernie Madoff on Wall Street. An astute but independent financial analyst Harry Markopolos looked at Madof’s Investment Securities firm’s annual financial statements and concluded with five minutes the returns were impossible to deliver. He contacted the official authorities at policing the industry, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) who ignored his investigation for two years in 2000 and 2001 although the SEC did have suspicions and it was Markopolos’ further published work that brought the curtain down. Investors once again got wind of the fraud and began pulling their cash out leading to a crash in 2008.

Sky News reported: “Financier Bernie Madoff, who swindled thousands of clients out of billions of dollars, has died in prison. The 82-year-old passed away from natural causes at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina, the Associated Press reported. He was put behind bars in 2009 after pleading guilty to defrauding thousands of clients out of billions of dollars in investments over several decades, and was serving a prison term of 150 years. It is estimated that investors put $17.5bn into Madoff’s business, with $13bn having been recovered so far.

“In what was the largest Ponzi scheme in history, Madoff told clients that they had holdings of $60bn in his company Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities. But in actual fact, investigators said he used the money paid to him by clients to make deposits to new investors, and that he had not made a trade for his advisory clients in years by the time of his arrest in 2008.”

Ian Carrotte (pictured) of ICSM said: “Tens of thousands of people were affected by the scam with billions lost by investors across every single Western Country including lots of charities and charitable foundations. Financial crashes are one thing – such as the Credit Crunch in 2008 when banks were hit by a slide in confidence over the sub-prime mortgage disaster – but frauds are different as they essentially don’t have any real assets.

“ICSM comes across frauds and scams regularly and we highlight them to potential victims privately and sometimes publish the stories – such as the Bonnie and Clyde of the Print Industry – to alert possible victims. If an investment is too good to be true – then it’s not true. The only way to make money is to work and also make careful investments and not clutch at pipe dreams like so many banks, individuals and firms have done with Madoff as it always ends the same way. You lose your money – and usually people like Madoff end up in jail.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Pic: Best Beer Festivals

Two pints of your finest ale landlord and I’ll pay you in two years time: why micro breweries are going bust

In 1971 the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) was launched and has become one of the most successful consumer pressure groups of all time. For those with long memories CAMRA was born in the era of Watney’s Red Barrel and Double Diamond, and a time when historic interiors of pubs were being ripped out in favour of serveries, carpets, themed interiors and the stripping out of snugs and alcoves.

Consumer pressure

By the 1980s the industry was dominated by the big breweries which led to an outcry spearheaded by CAMRA who could count on the support of the largely male members of parliament. In 1989 The Beer Orders were passed which prevented the big chains from owning too many pubs and instructing their pubs to have guest beers from independent brewers. Although the orders were overturned a few years later the industry had changed with the rise of micro breweries.

So far so good. Then came Covid 19 and the lockdowns. Every month ICSM charts the numbers of hostelries who have gone into receivership and frankly the numbers of pubs closing for good is a matter of national concern since they are often an important pillar of the local community.

Pic: The Herald

Wooha collapses

Last week the Scottish brewer Wooha went into administration blaming a combination of the lockdowns and Brexit which had compromised exports to Europe. In 2020 Mad Dog Brewing entered voluntary liquidation after experiencing major cash flow problems at its Welsh headquarters. Both firms had not been long in existence and like many smaller brewers had taken advantage of the Beer Orders which had revolutionised beer production. Now there are hundreds of micro brewers with some as small as one man and his hops while others have expanded into major suppliers. The craft beer industry is hoping changes this year to the Treasury’s Small Brewers Relief Scheme will not penalise those brewers who are growing. The scheme gives a sliding scale of duty to be paid on the golden liquid. The more that is brewed the greater the duty with a 50% cut for the smallest operators.

Pic: Birmingham Mail

Late payment problems

Writing for Good Beer Hunting a few months ago Jonny Garrett described how poor credit control was one factor behind the demise of many a micro brewer of craft ales. He wrote: “Concerns about 30-day terms and late payments have bubbled to the surface following the liquidation of distributor The Bottle Shop and a separate County Court judgment against a well-known East London craft beer pub over a £999.60 invoice that’s more than a year overdue.

“On Twitter, Canopy Beer Co founder Estelle Theobalds said an unnamed pub had bought 10 kegs of Pale Ale in 2018 on 30-day payment terms. Theobalds went on to say that, despite the court order, the venue is yet to respond, and has even set up new companies in a bid to avoid paying.”

Estelle Theobalds said that a lax attitude to credit by pubs and brewers alike was at the heart of the problem of cash flow when pubs open normally. In the USA (with some exceptions) the usual mode of business is cash on delivery for retail while here 30 days after delivery is the norm with many pubs and hotels refusing to pay for months and even years.

Pic: Time Out

Suppliers pay the price of administration

Two years ago when The Bottle Shop went bust the store owed £579,844 to trade and expense creditors including Kernel Brewery who were owed £89,862 and the Gipsy Hill Brewing Company, £21,545.

The average brewer will be supplied by a bottling plant supplier, printing firms for labelling and packaging, marketing people to create the brand and advertise the products, as well as the ingredients that make up the beer.

Jonny Garrett described how Andy Parker of Elusive Brewing in Berkshire, had admitted being paid by some pubs up to two years late which meant “they either don’t have the money or they’re stalling.”

He said: “The result is that breweries unable to get credit terms with their suppliers end up shouldering the debt for the entire supply chain—they aren’t getting paid but everyone else is. This state of affairs is exacerbated by the long lag times between breweries paying their suppliers and receiving money from their customers. Including brewing, transport, and the credit period, that gap can grow to seven or eight weeks before it’s even contractually overdue. Parker sees the pub industry’s reliance on credit as the single biggest issue his brewery faces, and one that holds his young company back.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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John Whittingdale MP

Minister for Gambling John Whittingdale demands answers from Gambling Commission after betting firm collapses with £58m of punters’ cash

As someone on Twitter put it this week about Football Index: “ If I bet Manchester United to win and with one minute to go they are four goals up and the betting company announce they’ve gone bust – what would you say?”

The so-called football stock market Football Index has collapsed and is expected to go into administration in Jersey with some speculating they have a suspected plan to phoenix dumping £58m in debts.

QPR have removed the logo from their shirts already

Government demand answers

John Whittingdale the new ‘gambling minister’ has demanded an explanation from the betting regulator about the implosion of the firm. Customers buy and sell ‘shares’ in football players and depending on their performance on the Football Index listing their value rises or falls. As they rise customers can cash in their shares for profit – until now. The company ceased trading with no pay-outs and uncertainty over the cash paid out by punters.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said the scheme was little more than a 21st century Ponzi set up. He said: “It has all the hallmarks of a pyramid scheme. Get rich quick schemes are built on sand with only one outcome. From Polly Peck to the Chinese lender Qiangqiantong, if it’s too good to be true then it is just that.”

The Government’s Whittingdale is understood to have ‘balled out’ the Gambling Commission who were ‘asleep at the wheel.’ He is overseeing a review of the gambling industry and is extremely angry that the commission allowed the situation to develop leaving members of the public with a £58m bill. His intervention led to the Gambling Commission revoking Football Index’s licence as it shut up shop. Their customers are complaining that they are unable to retrieve thousands of pounds from their accounts. A Twitter search shows how angry customers are with some having lost tens of thousands of pounds as they tried to become rich with the scheme.

Picture: BBC

Football shirts

Writing for The Guardian Rob Davies said: “The company, which sponsored both Nottingham Forest and Queens Park Rangers football clubs, is due to appoint insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor to act as administrators, raising uncertainty over whether account holders will be able to retrieve funds.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST NEWS from Checkaco: stories of rogue printers, puppy scammers, a bank that lost jewellery and a hotel that went bust and won’t refund wedding reception deposits

In this age of lockdowns there are fake businesses out there online posing as legitimate firms. They always ask for deposits but never supply the goods. Or there are thousands of firms set to go bust and will hang onto your deposit – for a wedding, a conservatory or a car – and then go into administration along with your cash. Checkaco’s credit checks are accurate and up to date so you can spot if the trader you choose is safe – and won’t go bust.

Fake printers
The High Court in Manchester has smashed a number of rogue printers who run websites but have no printing equipment. They take money up front from customers but disappear with the cash closing the website before popping up elsewhere with a new name. Hundreds of customers have lost more than a million pounds in deposits in the last two years – but new rogues keep popping up..
Checkaco Comment: Checkaco campaigned against a firm called The Book Printer run by a couple in Barry in South Wales. With the help of victims, the police and the trading standards they were brought to book in court and the business smashed – but only before they had taken hundreds of thousands of pounds off victims.

Wedding Venue goes bust
The local newspaper in Plymouth have reported on a couple who lost their £600 deposit for their wedding reception when the hotel they booked went bust.
They reported that Moorland Garden Hotel in Plymouth, Devon would not return deposits to couples who had chosen the site for their special day after it went into administration. Kirstie Wood (pictured), was due to get married on 23 July 2022 having booked the venue three years ahead.
Checkaco Comment: due to the Covid-19 crisis hotels and venues have been closed for months and as a result have been losing money hand over fist. Many are going bust as a result – so even in the best of times never pay a venue a deposit without doing a Checkaco credit check.

Puppy farm rip-off
Money Saving Expert have highlighted a current scam where people wanting to buy a puppy are asked to pay a deposit to secure their new pet. Posted on social media the adverts look professional but don’t have any way you can verify where the puppy breeder lives. The example they give is some one who signs themselves as PuppyLove1980. They said: “Now I understand we were silly to pay the deposit if we hoped to get it back (though she said that was fine), and as I said at the start, I’m certain they’re no scammer, I think they’re probably just hoping we’ll give up.”
Checkaco Comment: underneath the article someone had written: “Here’s a picture of some puppies – now send me a £100.” Essentially that’s what has happened. If there is no name or address in one of these adverts then don’t touch them – it’s a scam. If they give their name then check them with us as if they have a bad record it will come up immediately. With the lockdown scammers are having a field day taking people’s cash – don’t let them take yours.

Bank ‘loses’ jewellery
The Daily Record newspaper in Scotland has reported on the RBS keeping a safety deposit box after it was ‘lost.’
They reported: “Carole Mowat (pictured) says priceless family heirlooms were kept in the safe deposit box at an Edinburgh branch of RBS before it closed down. Filled with sapphires and watches bought in 1950s New York, Carole made enquires about the case last week once she realised the branch closed down a number of years ago. It was one of two safe deposit boxes passed down to her by her parents. Carole claims staff have been unable to locate the box, despite being shown a letter of ownership and key.”
Checkaco Comment: If you know a bank branch is set to close and you have a deposit box there contact them immediately and demand to have the box opened and its contents returned or have the box relocated to a branch that will remain open.

There are rogues out there who pose as legitimate businesses or are firms with terrible credit histories. Before you pay a cash deposit to them do a credit check with Checkaco for £7.95 and see if they are legitimate. All firms have tell-tale credit histories which reveal if they can be trusted with your money. Checkaco’s credit checks are accurate and up to date so you can spot if the trader you choose is safe – and won’t go bust.

The ratings are poor, fair, good or excellent – find out all their details now for just £7.95 at https://checkaco.com/

For details about Checkaco email info@checkaco.com or visit the website https://checkaco.com/ 

Checkaco, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR UK

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COMMENT It’s time to address the elephant in the room: the Brexit trade deal

It’s time someone other than EU Remainer fanatics to mention the elephant in the room: Brexit. Although I voted to remain in the referendum I argued that for the sake of democracy you had to accept the verdict. Like many I had expected Teresa May’s Brexit-Lite deal would have meant we would have stayed in the EU’s open market. As history recalls that didn’t get through parliament and it led to a change in the leadership of the Conservatives and under Johnson the Government received a mandate for a tougher form of Brexit in the 2019 General Election and in particular a trade deal which now looks anything but ‘oven ready.’.

With the effects of Covid on the economy it has been difficult to see the wood from the trees in terms of the how the trade deal affects business other than the decimation of our fishing industry. However bit by bit the fall out is beginning to become clear and although there are benefits such as the ability to roll out the Covid-19 vaccines compared to our European friends have done the down sides are frankly very concerning.

Frosty relations

Appointing Lord Frost to tackle post-Brexit strategy has two sides. He’s a tough negotiator who will take a harder line in future with the EU but he also is a Johnson man and thus does not necessarily have the confidence of the Welsh, Northern Irish and Scottish Governments who are not currently on board with Westminster on a range of policies. Lord Frost needs to put on his big pants and start to renegotiate parts of the trade deal so it works for both sides and especially over Northern Ireland’s situation. Already the grace period for trade across the Irish Sea has been extended to October – so thankfully that will be the start of a revision of the trade deal as it is pointless if it damages our economy – the opposite of what was promised.

There are some benefits for UK firms which are related to the trade deal. Where UK based companies have sourced parts and supplies from the EU purely on cost when there is an equivalent nearer home then some suppliers will find their order books filling up. There’s evidence that in some sectors of manufacturing this is happening – with Print Week reporting that some print work has returned home due to the cost of transportation. And there have been anecdotal reports that some car manufacturers have looked to local suppliers for help. This is a trend that will continue and is welcome – it’s just hard at this time to weigh these benefits up against the negatives until more statistics are available.

Whichever statistic you take in terms of haulage crossing the English Channel whether it’s from the Road Haulage Association or the Government, freight volumes are down since January 1. Those long queues of trucks on the roads leading to Dover are unacceptable as they conflict with the idea of ‘just in time deliveries’ and of exporting and importing fresh produce. Almost every sector in the UK is being hit by the delays and hold-ups with some firms opting to up-sticks and move to the Netherlands, France or elsewhere to bypass some of the problems. That wasn’t in the leave manifesto. With technology most of the so-called paperwork can be reduced to the minimum and transport delays all but wiped out. And there is a perception that there is some juvenile politics taking place on both sides of the Channel and the logistics sector really does not need this.

From the plight of the City of London to the Cornish fishing industry every day brings fresh bad news as business is hit by the Brexit trade deal. There is a dangerous situation developing on the island of Ireland as well – which was entirely foreseeable. I don’t care how he does it but Lord Frost needs to act fast and sort out these problems this year as the Covid-19 crisis will slowly disappear as the vaccination roll-out continues and the economy will then be exposed in all its nakedness.

Harry Mottram

For more on business and the insolvency industry visit ICSM Credit.  https://lnkd.in/egVAwVW

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Comment: The Budget: spend, spend, spend – before the tax hikes take effect – but by then Rishi Sunak will be PM and it will be someone else in Number 11 who takes the heat

Furloughing extended to September, more grants and loans for businesses and a package to help hospitality and retail survive the ongoing lockdown. All well and good but the bills for the Covid-19 crisis continue to rise to plus £400bn – and all this under a Conservative Government.

And then comes the hangover: the tax hikes to pay for it all. By freezing the level of tax free income and the higher rate threshold from next year the Chancellor will see more than two million people paying more tax bringing in billions more to the exchequer by 2026. Add to that the hike in Corporation Tax and Rishi Sunak will have begun the serious task of paying for the ill thought out spend, spend, spend policy to tackle the pandemic. No help for more than a million freelancers, hike the tax bill on the low paid, only a temporary increase on universal credit, no increase in minimum wage or help for care workers and no long term strategy to pay for the NHS and an aging population.

When the leader of the opposition Kier Starmer replied to the budget he had a point that it was papering over the cracks. Essentially a sticking plaster on the economy – hoping that things pick up this summer and all is back to normal in 18 month’s time. What then?

There had been talk of a wind fall tax on the big tech firms of Google, Facebook and Amazon and the like. A tax on home deliveries to encourage us all to return to the high street shops. A wholesale reform of business rates and a permanent cut in VAT for retailing and hospitality – but no. This was an opportunity to look to the future to help small and medium sized businesses once again fire up the economy. A chance also to recalibrate Britain socially so that the low paid have more in their wages which in turn go into spending and investing – it’s basic economics. So much talk of levelling up has been just that. 

To use an old phrase Rishi Sunak has had a good war – or in this case a good pandemic. He’s emerged as the bright new hope of the Conservative Party. Slick, positive and clean cut. Unlike the politically bruised images of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Matt Hancock. If as expected Labour make substantial gains in the 2024 election but fail to win then Johnson’s days are numbered and Sunak looks a shoe in for a move to Number 10.

There is much to applaud in his budget – and I’ve clearly outlined the downside – namely a failure to address the long term. But help for retail and hospitality is appreciated, help for locals to save their pubs, help for business in the way of loans, extending furloughing, help with stamp duty and a freeze on the usual victim of the budget: booze. And the freeze on fuel duty is a big help for the entire economy – although the idea that petrol and diesel cars will be phased out starting in 2030 is questionable. Collectively motorists through fuel duty pay the Chancellor £27bn a year and that cash can’t automatically be replaced by a tax on hydrogen powered engines or even less likely electric vehicles. If as I predict Sunak moves next door in 2024 or soon after, this and other long term issues will fall in someone else’s in-tray. For now he’s just about got away with it and remains the Teflon Chancellor – which in politics is everything.

Harry Mottram

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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We’ve got a road map out of the Covid-19 crisis but beware giving credit to firms planning to reopen

With Brexit ‘done’ and the Government announcing that they now have a clear roadmap to lead the nation out of the nightmare of Covid-19 we can at least feel industry might heave a sigh of relief.

And the four step roadmap is certainly the most encouraging of those aspects of politics.

Print Week

Writing in the printing industry’s trade publication Print Week Jo Francis (pictured) noted that business owners have broadly welcomed the government’s plans.

She explains: “The key dates for the gradual unlocking are step one: 8 and 29 March; step two: no earlier than 12 April, step three: no earlier than 17 May and step four: no earlier than 21 June, by when the government hopes to be in a position to “remove all legal limits on social contact.”

Jo Francis goes on to quote a number of industry figures on their views on the roadmap. Perhaps the most revealing and also optimistic was from Gareth Roberts, the managing director of Bishops Printers. She quoted him as saying:“The roadmap is really useful because it will turn the glass to half-full. The science and the rollout of the vaccine would make me believe that actually these dates will be reasonably reliable. In terms of planning for recovery, the last thing you want is to regress again.

“Whether it’s theatres or sports… my sense of our customers is they can now start to have reasonable confidence in how they are going to stimulate activity. Football clubs can definitely start season ticket renewal campaigns and marketing activity for the new season with confidence that fans will be in there. I believe that schools going back is also important, because people working from home will be able to focus on planning the re-emergence of their business and their role within that. Within the next three weeks we’re going to be on a progressive and sustained pathway toward recovery. I’m really excited and really positive.”

Warning over credit

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said Gareth Roberts had made the point about planning very eloquently. He said: “It has been the unending nature of the covid-19 crisis that has so damaged business. With the dates laid out by the Government sports venues, theatres, cinemas, restaurants and pubs can start planning. Getting in stock, recruiting staff and above all putting together a cash flow forecast for the rest of the summer.”

However he predicted that many businesses would not survive that long with many throwing in the towel due to mounting debts.

“Many companies have been ripped off by the banks with high interest rates,” he said, “while repayments for the original loans are now due – but so many firms have had next to no income since last year. So my warning to suppliers is be careful about granting more credit as many companies will go into administration during the spring and summer.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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The Big Short 2: how a us V them battle over GameStop’s shares reveals the risky world of shorting as explained in Adam McKay’s film

A David v Goliath battle has broken out in the USA over the share price of a shop that you’d expect to collapse when the lockdown began. GameStop is computer game and merchandiser with more the 5,500 stores across the globe that began life in 1984 as Babbage’s in America. The lockdowns have forced the company to shut hundreds of its shops and it was expected to see a massive drop in its value. And that’s where the story took an unusual twist.

The Big Short

In Adam KcKay’s movie The Big Short brokers realised in 2007 the housing market was overpriced due to the selling of mortgage bundles to banks containing sub-prime mortgages – basically valueless deals sold for a fortune. The brokers took out deals with the banks to bet the values would fall which they did earning them millions and ruining the banks.

Margot Robbie in The Big Short

Now the same is happening with a number of businesses hit by the pandemic. Brokers are betting on the collapse of share prices of businesses hit by the pandemic with the most high profile one being GameStop. Once it was known there were bets on GameStop’s shares going down fans of the shop that included thousands of gaming fans who loved the stores began to buy its shares to foil the brokers. Information about the fortunes of the store were shared on a forum on Reddit’s WallStreetBets which when shut down due to some of the content and views expressed there saw GameStop’s shares drop 20% – although have since recovered. The question is will they stay high when their shops are closed?

Ian Carrotte described the phenomenon as ‘an existential threat’ to conventional trading on Wall Street as it showed how consumer and small citizen share-holders could challenge the accepted norm of the market. He said: “It is an example where share activists who have a passion for a company and don’t want it to fail can collectively contradict the norms. Long term though you can’t buck the market and it is hard to see GameStop not suffering from market trends. When you could download a game online and didn’t have to go to shop the market shifted. What is interesting is whether the GameStop experience happens in this country with other ailing brands.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

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The all star cast for The Big Short

The 2008 Credit Crunch explained in Adam McKay’s adrenalin filled tragic-black comedy movie The Big Short shows how easy it is for fraudster bankers to bring an economy down – is it happening again with Covid-19 loans?

A quartet of central characters, drive the plot of The Big Short, as they uncover the extent of the sub-prime mortgage scandal in the USA in 2007. Without one main protagonist the story lacks a clear focus on a single narrative but makes up for it by illustrating the unravelling scandal with graphics, straight to camera explanations and the odd celebrity appearing in cameo roles to further convey the financial mechanics. There’s Selena Gomez on a gaming table in Las Vegas, Margot Robbie appears in a Bath and even the chef Anthony Bourdain makes a fish stew to illustrate subprime mortgages.

Margot Robbie

Calling the bluff of the banks

The reason for the 2008 Credit Crunch and the essential truth behind Adam McKay’s movie is a banking fraud. Lenders bundled up mortgages into packages and sold them to banks who in turn sold them to other banks. The mortgages contained the odd defaulter but as the practice increased more unsuitable mortgage deals were included to increase bonuses to the point that the bundles became worthless as too many mortgages were defaulted on. The dodgy practice continued as banks knowingly over valued the bundles of subprime mortgages until broker Michael Burry of Scion Capital (played by Christian Bale in the film) – who had a reputation of spotting a stinker – bet against the continued increase in value. He went to the banks and arranged a bet, or a short*, that the values would fall. To do this he had to pay regular premiums to the banks which they were happy to charge as they thought he was nuts.

Burry and later others brokers such as Mark Baum (Steve Carell) of Front Line Partners began to investigate and do the same after undertaking research including a Florida field trip that revealed on one estate nobody was paying their mortgages. Once the secret was out the value of the banks fell off a cliff.

The day the shit hit the fan

In 2007 New Century Bank went bust, American Home Mortgage filed for Chapter 11 protection and in the UK there was a run on Northern Rock which showed how the crisis rippled out around the world. More followed with Bear Stearns, Citigroup, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase all in trouble with Delta Financial Corporation filing for bankruptcy by the end of the year. In 2008 it got worse as the stock market fell and the banks called in loans to businesses across the USA leading to insolvencies and a huge rise in unemployment. George Bush’s Government pushed through rescue packages and ended up bailing out Bear Stearns and the banks Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac although the crisis continued taking the scalp of the Lehman Brothers the damage was done. Later that year Barack Obama become president and his administration injected massive amounts of cash into the economy which eventually proved a success. The subprime mortgage scandal had once again showed that unregulated investments and a collective will to ignore a growing crisis nearly took the USA economy down.

The Big Short is an intelligent and enjoyably testosterone powered movie with its rock tracks, shouty moments, foul language and quick fire direction. Yes it gets a bit pious towards the end (because the brokers all get very rich but still take the moral high ground over the corrupt bankers) with an unresolved sub-plot concerning Baum’s mental health and marriage and a slightly unconvincing scene in a pub in Exmouth in Devon – but considering the complex ubject it’s a pretty decent movie. For those wishing to study how a financial crisis happens it is essential viewing.

Emergency Covid-19 business loans

Thousands of loans have been granted to businesses across the UK by banks to help them through the current crisis. Starting in March 2020 many of those loans are coming up for repayment and that’s where the problem lies. The Government guarantees 80% of the loans so the banks have anecdotally not been too concerned about doing their usual credit checks on who is taking them out. The Government’s own National Audit Office (NAO) has said that up to 60% of the loans will fail to be paid back landing the tax payer with a £26bn bill. A chunk of those loans were also given to criminals who set up ghost firms purely to take the money and run – in one case in London last year police arrested two men who borrowed £500,000 in multiple loans.

The longer the crisis continues the more likely more firms will crash and default on those loans. This time the banks won’t be taking the hit – instead it’s the Government and that ultimately is us the tax payer. The only way out for the Chancellor of the Exchequer is to increase printing money (quantitative easing), increase borrowing and to raise taxes. Since we are in an economic crisis already with a recession almost certain it’s hard to see if there is room for another crash like 2007-2008. In the 1980s a property bubble burst in 1989 when six years of boom popped, and in the years running up to 2007 the same thing happened. Is there going to be another one now?

In contrast to pre-2007 when the economy was fine and unemployment was low today unemployment is growing due to the Covid-19 crisis. Several observers have predicted a fall in prices as interest rates eventually rise as the protections offered during lockdowns end and unemployment increases this year. If it’s a bubble then it’s popping very slowly and it’s anyone’s guess whether a broker somewhere is betting on a short.

Harry Mottram

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Instagram and YouTube.

Or email him at harryfmottram@gmail.com

Notes

*Short: A broker borrows shares for a fee from a lender, sells them and waits for the price to fall before selling them back at the high price but getting paid the difference between the high and low price as payment – all part of the short deal with the lender who thinks the broker is nuts. It’s high risk as usually share prices rise in which case the broker loses money. Buying shares for a ‘long’ term investment is the opposite to short.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

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Pic: Life is an Episode

Up to three million self-employed and other workers ‘don’t qualify for any Government Lockdown Covid cash’

Models, photographers, illustrators, designers, writers, artists – the list of those who are self-employed is endless. Many teachers, consultants, drivers, farmers and gardeners work for themselves – and don’t qualify for any of the Government’s Covid-19 cash.

IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, is the only dedicated representative body for the UK’s self-employed community, including freelancers, contractors, consultants and independent professiona said that the numbers involve run to more than a million workers.

Pic: Business Matters

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said it was a scadal that these workers were left behind in the Government’s finance packages. He said: “Our findings suggest as many as 3 million workers get nothing from the schemes. If you are a wedding photographer – well wedding bookings are being cancelled – while run way shows for models have ended due to Coivd. You would think it is possible for the Government to have come up with a system since last March for this vital sector.”

Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: There’s no doubt the new lockdown measures will have a severe impact on the already struggling self-employed sector. The school closure is also likely to hit self-employed parents particularly hard, cutting into their working week.  

“The new support package, aimed at businesses with premises, misses the mark and will do little to mitigate the financial damage to the self-employed sector. After almost a year, there are still drastic gaps in the support available to the self-employed, with over 1.5 million sole directors, newly self-employed people and others still excluded.

“We urge the government to work with business groups to plug these gaps and get support to freelancers in need over the coming months. We are keen to work with government to find a solution and make this right.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Alarm at collapsing firms (even on Christmas Day) as David Lloyd Leisure and GLL signal cashflow problems – plus the publican who has borrowed £4m to stay afloat

On Christmas Eve Heaton Catering Equipment Limited in Newcastle Upon Tyne appointed liquidators while the next day of Christmas Day Gillard Racing Karts in Essex also appointed liquidators. Nothing unusual in that but everyday over the festive period hundreds more firms went to the wall with record numbers of personal bankruptcies.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said everyone in business needed to take credit control seriously as the recession bites and talk to their creditors as more big names bit the buffers in the first days of 2021.

The man who borrowed £4 for his pubs

The BBC business journalist Dan Ascher reported on businessman Martin Wolstencroft (pictured) who has borrowed £4m just to ensure the survival of pub chain Arc Inspirations, a bar chain with 17 venues.

He reported: “The money that we are borrowing is really just to stand still,” Mr Wolstencroft said. “We’ll be coming out of this in a far worse position with far greater debt and it totally reduces our ability to grow our business for the future. And all of this has been brought about through no fault of our own.”

UK Hospitality says the closure of pubs, restaurants and hotels is costing business owners such as Mr Wolstencroft a total of £500m a month, even allowing for any government support. And that has led to a huge rise in debt. More than 1,600 restaurants closed last year, costing 30,000 jobs, says property adviser Altus. When bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses are included, almost 300,000 jobs were lost last year as a result of the pandemic, according to figures from the Office for

The BBC have also reported on the owner of pub chains Harvester and Toby Carvery who says it may need to raise more cash to survive lockdown. Pub group Mitchells & Butlers says it is examining raising money from investors because it is unclear how long current restrictions will last. Each month closed loses the business up to £40m, plus it has to meet £50m debt costs each quarter.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said suppliers to pubs and restaurants should be careful. “Everyday another hotel or bar goes bust leaving suppliers with nothing,” he said, “being a member of ICSM Credit is an insurance against getting your fingers burnt as we and our members flag up firms in trouble saving them millions every quarter.”

Alarm bells are also ringing over the fate of another sector – this time gyms and leisure centres. David Lloyd is latest gym chain to warn over its future as lockdown measures bite reports the Daily Mail. They reported this week: “In its accounts, the company said uncertainty caused by the pandemic ‘could cast significant doubt on the group’ and its ability to stay in business.”

Another major operator Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has also signalled it has major problems as its cash flow has dried up due to the lockdowns. They begged for cash from the Cardiff City Council last November in order to retain leisure centres in the city and have already closed for good the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Pic BBC

A dream of two 1960s art students in creating a beautiful shop selling designer paper products could be about to die on the altar of Covid-19

Back in 1968 art students Judith Cash and Eddie Pond founded what was to become one of Britain’s favourite stationery stores. Paperchase is reported in the first week of January 2021 to be on the brink of collapse and is set to go into administration with potentially the loss of 1,5000 jobs and closer of more than 100 shops.

Company Voluntary Arrangement

The company has had a long history of problems with a number of owners and even agreeing a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in 2019 with suppliers in order to remain in business. A far cry from that art college dream in 1968. Paperchase said: “The cumulative effects of lockdown one, lockdown two – at the start of the Christmas shopping period – and now the current restrictions have put unbearable strain on retail businesses across the country.”

Ian Carrrotte of ICSM Credit said: “It is sad to see the demise of Paperchase but our main concern is for the suppliers some of whom won’t get paid if they go into administration. Our intelligence suggest there are some suppliers who are going to take a big hit if they go and that problems set in long before Covid came along.”

Paperchase was begun in 1968 when London was the height of fashion

Christmas shut down

The BBC reported that the firm has filed a notice to appoint administrators, a move that will give it breathing space from its creditors while it works out a rescue plan. They said the second lockdown in November came at a crucial period for the firm, which makes a high proportion of sales at Christmas with up to 40% of its turn-over during the build up to the festive season. The chain now has 10 working days to find a solution.

ian Carrotte of ICSm Credit said that Covid-19 had hit the firm hard but it had a long history of money problems. W H Smith came to its rescue in 1985 and in 1996 it became Paperchase Products after a management buy out before in 2004 Borders took control. Three years late they sold a stake to to Risk Capital for £10 m. There were more problems in 2009 when Borders collapsed but HMV and Waterstones were amongst stores to offer Paperchase concessions in their shops in 2010 following a management buy out with Primary Capital Partners the current owners.

Some Eddie Pond’s designs

Art students

Both Judith Cash and Eddie Pond continued to work as designers and artist after their period of control of the business. They were friends with Terence Conran in the 1960s and the man who went on the found Habitat helped put up the money to open the original shop in Kensington.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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ICSM Credit’s Newsletter December 2020


ICSM Credit demands action to restart the economy
OUR BACK TO BUSINESS MANIFESTO
This year has been the bleakest for business in generations. Not just because of Covid-19 but because the cure has been worse than the disease. The four UK Governments have made serious mistakes in the handling of the pandemic by consistently penalising small businesses, retailing, hospitality, the travel and leisure industries as well as sole traders and the self-employed.

This is not a political matter as the four UK Governments represent all parts of the political spectrum but all have one thing in common and that is a dictatorial tendency that has led to a recession, high unemployment and mass business failures.

ICSM Credit stands with virtually all businesses in this country in its desire to get Britain back to work and to end the slide into a depression as quickly as possible – starting now.

ICSM Credit’s Back to Business Manifesto

1 End the tier system now and give the powers to local parish, town, city, district, unitary and county councils and city mayors to introduce any social restrictions required to suppress the virus but excluding business.

2 Allow all businesses to open immediately with sensible precautions to stem the virus put in place.

3 A package of measures to rekindle the high street and shopping areas back into life including slashing business rates, cutting VAT, business rents and adjusting parking restrictions in town centres together with free parking in all shopping centres.

4 To put on hold the Brexit withdrawal agreement for six months to allow businesses more time to prepare for the new arrangements over how it will affect imports and exports.

5 Introduce a tailored rescue package for the most affected industries. For instance, cutting taxes for the hospitality, holiday and travel businesses. Grants for manufacturing to expand and take on new employees. To ensure retailers going into administration are kept on life support to allow time to redirect the businesses to prevent job losses and retain footfall in the high street.

I commend this manifesto to all our members and to the business community and Government as a whole.

Wishing you a Merry Christmas and hopefully a busy and prosperous New Year.

Best wishes
Ian Carrotte
Proprietor of ICSM Credit
For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com




ICSM Credit, the Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR

Not a member? Normally you can join for less than a tank of diesel and protect yourself from late payers but we have a special free temporary membership offer this winter. Use our free legal letters to chase unpaid invoices.For a video on how to send a FREE LEGAL LETTER visit:https://youtu.be/AIycysoFhYo
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 The shocking collapse of retailing this year (with Debenhams likely to be liquidated) meaning more than a quarter of a million shop workers have lost their jobs in 2020 and suppliers left with nothingAfter Arcadia went into administration last month it meant the only potential buyer of Debenhams, namely JD Sports, pulled out thus condemning the nationwide department store to collapse.
“This is another hammer blow to workers and suppliers,” said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit, “with invoices unpaid, wages void and pension schemes in doubt it means the economy is being given a body blow. We need the Government to create a strategy to revitalise the high street with rescue and transition packages, plus cuts to rents and business rates. Sadly they seem more interested in the tier system and Covid-19 related matters.”Department store’s end
You might think 2020 couldn’t get any worse for business but on December 1, Debenhams have had the rug pulled from underneath them as JD Sports pulled out of a rescue deal following the end of Arcadia who have concessions in the department store.
The company had already cut about 6,500 jobs since May, and now has 12,000 workers but it now looks likely the stores will be liquidated with only a slight possibility that some stores or the name could be bought out by rivals.Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said the 242-year-old retailer has already left thousands of suppliers unpaid following administration in April. He said suppliers included printers, sign-makers, designers, clothing manufacturers and landlords will be left with nothing.
Long list of the big names 
The Centre for Retail Research in the UK have listed the following British owned retailers who have fallen into administration, or have been liquidated (this is a list of big names – thousands of smaller retailers have also gone bust): Arcadia, the fashion giant with subsidiaries Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Burtons, Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Evans; Peacocks and Jaeger; Edinburgh Woollen Mill and Ponden Mill; J Crew;  Celine Group Holdings, the parent company of Debenhams; M&Co; D W Sports; Feather & Black; Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Chester; Oliver Sweeney Trading; Muji,   Cardinal;  Soletrader; Peter Jones; Norville Group; Benson Beds; Harveys Furniture; T M Lewin; Bertram Books; Intu Properties, Go Outdoors; Lee Longlands; Poundstretcher; Oak Furnitureland, Le Pain Quotidien; Monsoon Accessorize; Quiz; Aldo; DVF Studio; Antler; Dawson’s Music; J Crew; L K Bennet; Oasis and Warehouse; Debenhams; Spicers; Simply Scuba; Kath Kidston; Autonomy Clothing;  Lombok; Brighthouse; Laura Ashley; Kikki.K;  Soak; Bonmarché; T J Hughes Outlet; HonestJohn.co.uk; Ashbury Furniture; Ena Shaw; Oddbins; Hearing and Mobility; Hawkins; Houseology; Welch and Bill Dobbie; Beales.
++++++++++++++Going, going, gone. Arcadia crashes into administration bringing down the curtain on the glory days of Sir Philip Green’s dominance of retailing (leaving £250m in unpaid invoices, 15,000 unemployed and the pension fund in doubt)ICSM Credit has been warning for months that Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia group were on the brink of collapse threatening not to pay an estimated £250m in invoices owed to suppliers.
“It gives me no pleasure to announce the retail giant have gone into administration,” said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit, “but many suppliers will never see their cash having trusted that Arcadia could not fail. It’s a disaster for the British High Street and a tragedy brought to the head by the Covid-19 restrictions on retailing which in my view have been heavy handed and punished bricks and mortar firms over internet outfits.”
The end of an era
How could this have happened? Some experts point to a trio of factors: the decline in footfall in general in the high street; uncertainties over Brexit; and Covid-19. It’s this last nail in the Arcadia coffin that has been the most damaging. “If the Government shuts your business down then you are no longer viable,” said Ian Carrotte, “no customers mean no business – it’s the first rule of business. And yet the likes of Amazon and company can go on trading as normal. It has not been a level playing field.
“The Guardian reported today (November 30): “The owner of household names including Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans and Burton appointed administrators from Deloitte on Monday. No immediate redundancies were made as a result of the appointment and stores will continue to trade. The move will protect Arcadia from creditors while a buyer is sought for all or parts of the company. Green, 68, is not expected to bid for any of the assets.”
Arcadia’s brands are expected to continue trading in stores and online during the sale process, through a light-touch trading administration, the same process being used by the troubled department store chain Debenhams. Arcadia’s management will retain control of the day-to-day running of the business during the process, and its shops in England will reopen on 2 December when the coronavirus lockdown is lifted.”
Buyers looking to put in bids
Ian Carrotte said he understood a number of buyers were circling the group looking to pick off the most profitable parts on the assumption that the high street returns to popularity once the pandemic ends. He said: “Boohoo, Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, formerly known as Sports Direct, and a number of private equity players are showing interest as well as Next and Marks & Spencer may seek elements of the group.”
He pointed out the firm owes millions to suppliers as well as leaving a question mark over the group’s pension fund. “The stores will continue trading as the administrators will hope the Christmas and January sales will boost its value and attract buyers,” said Ian Carrotte, “but it is more likely to be liquidated with some parts sold on as the brands and store locations still hold a premium.”
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MORE STORIES FROM ICSM’s WEBSITE
News in brief: the nightmare of Carillion continues; another retailing giant teeters on the brink; plus those firms most hit by the Covid-19 crisisICSM – Take Control Of Your Finances (icsmcredit.com)

ICSM Credit News: Sunak says UK economy is ‘damaged’; jobs go at papermill; warning over rise in thefts as recession bites; Stoke printer goes bust; and a vote in favour of printed catalogues
ICSM – Take Control Of Your Finances (icsmcredit.com)
 
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Those gatekeeper excuses on why you’ve not been paid including ‘the finance director is not here today,’ plus 20 more you don’t want to hearICSM Credit has heard just about every excuse in the book as to why one of our members has not been paid by a client. Chasing payment from a small business or a sole trader may involve visiting the person who authorises payment in their office or even at their place of work or home and putting them on the spot. When it comes to larger firms there is often a gate keeper or the accounts department is physically impossible to reach. That’s when the phone and email appears to be the only way to chase up a late payment. And that’s where the process of getting paid takes on Kafkaesque overtones – a nightmarish round of incomprehensible excuses why you haven’t been paid.
Company disinformation
One of the most irritating company policies to delay payment is the policy of disinformation. When you call the company after an invoice is unpaid there are different excuses, with each one designed to deliberately delay payment. When all of these have been used up and the creditor has lost patience then lobbying the owner or and financial director personally is the final option before legal action.
The problem is often they seem uncontactable. They are out of the country, don’t have a mobile and there doesn’t seem to be an email for them. When you eventually track them down they apologise and claim nobody has told them of the debt and they authorise payment immediately. But you have a strange feeling it may all have been a ruse or a charade. They knew all along you hadn’t been paid and pretended the accounts department were either incompetent or inefficient.
20 excuses you’ve probably heard
We won’t list ‘the cheques is in the post’ as nobody writes cheques these days but it’s a euphemism that can be used for all of these:
1 Our accounts department is very busy.
2 Our customer hasn’t paid us yet.
3 The financial director is on holiday.
4 We’re in the process of switching bank accounts.
5 Out payment terms changed so there will be a delay.
6 We haven’t any record of your invoice.
7 The person who requested the work had no authority.
8 You haven’t put a purchase order number on your invoice.
9 We have gone into administration.
10 We have been bought out and the new owners need to audit all invoices.
11 Our next payment run isn’t until the end of next month.
12 Your invoice is incorrect.
13 We can’t pay.
14 The person who authorises payment is in a meeting.
15 The person who authorises payment has suffered a family bereavement and is on compassionate leave.
16 The person who authorises payment isn’t in the building.
17 The person who authorises payment is off sick.
18 Our computer system is down.
19 We are in the middle of an office move.
20 Our accounts department has moved
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MORE NEWSPrinting industry mourns the collapse of Westdale Press
There has been an outpouring of emotion by many in the printing and allied industries over the collapse of the Cardiff colour print firm Westdale Press.
Alan Padbury
Reporting in the trade journal Print Week Jo Francis explained how the respected company had been ‘fatally wounded by the double-whammy of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic.’The firm had called in administrators in October after what ICSM credit understands was a battle to keep the business going through out the summer.Jo Francis said: “Administrators from Menzies were appointed at the Cardiff-based company yesterday (15 October) by managing director and owner Alan Padbury.”
She said Padbury said he had strived to find a way to save the business, which employed around 85 staff. It previously had sales of £13m but had been “limping along” at about £8m this year.And she reported that he said he was absolutely devastated about the situation.
Print week continued: “It has been a tortuous six months and we’ve done so many things, I could probably write two books. We explored all the possibilities, all of the loan options and tried marketing the company [for sale] but we’ve run out of road.”
In the comments section on the print week website Mitesh Chouhan wrote, “How Tragic, sad story & depressing times 🙁 Sadly there will be more casualties. Westdale had a decent balance sheet, good cash reserves, minimal debt and respectable debtor to creditor ratio.” Antoner Printshire said, “I fear into the new year 2021 there will be carnage within the trade and wider business community.” While Gerrard Moss said: “I’ve been in printing just over 50 years and seen several recessions in this time, this one is a bad one because there seems to be no end in sight to this virus.” David Deere pointed out that the MD had sold his car and other assets to pay for wages as the firm struggled.
The main comments also expressed sympathy largely because the recession has hit businesses that were viable before the virus arrived. Matt Booker summer up the thoughts of many: “As a longstanding customer of Westdale Press I have to say they were a first class operation, and this is the saddest of news for all of the people involved. Well invested, extremely well run and with a team that from top to bottom had an unrivalled level of knowledge and dedication. Unfair is a huge understatement. This industry needs more people like Westdale Press.”
 
CVA for Jellyfish
Joe Francis in Print Week also had story on a CVA for Jellyfish Solutions in Hampshire a print management firm.
She wrote: “Creditors of Jellyfish Solutions approved the CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement) proposal last month. Jellyfish is based in Fair Oak, Hampshire. Its services include print management for book publishers alongside commercial print products such as brochures, guides and flyers. It also offers consulting services.
“The business is run by husband and wife team Richard and Amanda Ankers. The proposal stated that unsecured creditors would be likely to receive a more than ten-fold better return if the CVA was approved, than if the business was liquidated. Creditors have agreed to the deal that should see them receive 37.42p in the £ over three years, compared to an estimated 3.22p should the business have gone into administration.Insolvency practitioners Andrew Andronikou and Michael Kiely of Quantuma are the joint supervisors of the CVA. Jellyfish was founded nearly 15 years ago, originally with backing from Ashford Colour Press, where the Ankers had both worked.”
Print Week reported th the Covid-19 pandemic had decimated sales, with client spending on hold and some of its biggest customers in travel, sport and leisure canning their promo plans altogether.James Cropper
There has been a sigh of relief from many in the printing and allied industries after Rishi Sunak extended the furlough scheme to the end of March. Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said there had been an expected surge in insolvencies in the industry at the end of October which didn’t occur due to the extension of the scheme.
One of the effects of the lock downs and constraints on the industry has emerged with the news that the Cumbrian papermaker James Cropper has seen a fall in revenue. Richard Stuart-Turner for Print Week magazine reported: “By division, revenue in James Cropper’s Paper division was down by 45% year-on-year from £38m to £20.9m, Technical Fibre Products (TFP) recorded revenue of £11.7m, down 13.7% from £13.6m a year earlier, and the group’s Colourform division recorded sales of £1.4m, up 16.5% on the £1.2m reported in the first half of 2019.”
Zoom meeting
A meeting of creditors via Zoom is set to take place on November 20 to discuss the fall out from the collapse of Camberley based Lithoxpress Limited.
A resolution to wind-up the company is to be considered at the planned general meeting conducted by Kieran Bourne of Cromwell & Co Insolvency Practitioners of Coventry.The owner Clive Bryant has been in post for more than 13 years at the business that lists graphic design, advertising and printing as part of its services
Stoke firm liquidated
Wood Mitchell Printers Limited in Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire have held a Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meeting. The firm founded 116 years ago and based at Festival Way have taken the voluntary liquidation route in an attempt to retain control over the process. ICSM Credit understands the family firm employed up to 50 staff and according to their website print leaflets, brochures, posters, catalogues, short run magazines and flyers.

Cake cooked
Manchester based Cake Marketing and Advertising have appointed liquidators. The self-styled ‘boutique agency’ full-service advertising firm said in its publicity that they are in business to help clients get a ‘bigger slice.’

Over reached
The newspaper firm formally known as Trinity Mirror are planning on closing two more printing plants with the loss of 150 jobs. Reach said they need to ‘balancing production of its regional and national titles, and contract work’ with the closure of their Luton and Birmingham plants.
Writing in Print Week Jo Francis said: “Reach Printing Services currently has six sites across the country. The Luton site, formerly West Ferry Printers, was acquired in 2018 as part of Reach’s acquisition of Northern & Shell’s publishing assets. At the time there was concern about the long-term viability of the plant, which only opened in 2011, due to its proximity to Reach’s existing Watford site.”
Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said it was part of the slow decline of the newspaper industry with sales falling even faster during the Covid-19 crisis as customers cannot always access copies in shops.
++++++++++++++++++++++Estate agent in turmoilOne of the country’s largest chains of estate agents is experiencing massive concerns over its long term viability sparked by the problems of 2020. Countrywide is supplied by thousands of companies, from sign-makers to computer firms and employs around 10,000 staff across its 850 or so High Street outlets. Shareholder nerves were tested this week when they rejected a £90m cash injection from private equity group Alchemy Partners and by the resignation of the chairman peter Long.The rescue bid floundered when rivals Connells put in a bid to buy the chain with a much-reduced valuation of the business sending shares into a fall.Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said: “There are major problems with Countrywide and I would advise all suppliers to be very cautious as it has all the hallmarks of a company in trouble.“As we have seen in the past no company is big enough or famous enough to fail so be very cautious in allowing credit.”
Fraud case
Lucy White of the Daily Mail has reported on the fall-out of one the worst corporate fraud cases in recent years. London Capital & Finance promised high returns on savings sucking in thousands of investors only to shut down the scheme without paying the promised returns but retaining the investors’ cash.The journalist wrote: “The City watchdog is under pressure to publish a long-awaited review into its handling of the London Capital & Finance (LCF) savings scandal. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which has been slammed by LCF victims for failing to act on warnings about the collapsed firm, was finally handed a copy of Dame Elizabeth Gloster’s independent review on Monday.
“But the 11,600 victims who have lost around £237million are still waiting to see Gloster’s findings, as the FCA will now read the report, write its own report on the findings, and finally send both documents to the Treasury for publication. LCF tumbled into administration in January 2019, after selling ‘minibonds’ to thousands of savers. They were promised high returns for low risk, as LCF said it would lend their money to businesses which needed the money to grow.
“But investors were left high and dry when the firm collapsed, and it turned out that their money had been funnelled to a small number of borrowers. Thirteen people connected to LCF are now being sued for £178million in connection with an alleged fraud, after it was claimed that savers’ cash was used to buy horses, a helicopter and a lifetime membership to a Mayfair private members’ club.”
She wrote that Gloster, a former Court of Appeal judge, was initially due to report in July but had to push the deadline back after the FCA revealed heaps more evidence.
Ian Carrotte said many of the victims had lost their life savings and taken cash out of their business to invest in the scheme were much poorer as a result. He said: “If an investment scheme seems too good to be true then it probably is.”
Logistics company seeks CVA
Trade publication Motor Transport have covered the story of the logistics outfit Brian Yeardley Continental who are seeking a CVA after suffering a £12m loss due to pandemic.The trade journal said: “Brian Yeardley Continental is proposing to issue a company voluntary arrangement after its events transport division, Brian Yeardley, suffered the ‘devastating’ loss of £12m due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The West Yorkshire-based haulier has appointed partners Charles King and Hunter Kelly of EY to oversee the process.”
Building firm enters administration
Goodwin’s Construction Services Group of Manchester has entered administration caused by the Covid-19 crisis drying up cash flow.The company was founded in 2014 and originally known as Goodwin Construction Group, was part of the Goodwin Group working on projects across the North West of England.
The firm has appointed Yasmin Bhikha, John Lowe, and Anthony Collier of FRP Advisory as joint administrators. The Goodwin Group is unaffected however but 30 members of staff have been made redundant so far.
John Lowe said: “Goodwin’s Construction Services was a strong business but, unfortunately, the challenges facing the business left it with no option other than to appoint administrators as it was unable to generate the cashflow to remain solvent. Our priority is now to support those employees affected and we will be working closely with the redundancy payments service to do so.” 
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Runners and Riders
Below is a collated list taken from the Government’s London Gazette of various businesses who are experiencing problems in the last few weeks. 

Administrators Appointed
Airport Parking Rentals (Gatwick) Limited  44140
Armondi UK Limited
Ball, Roller and Transmissions Bearings Limited  44138
Brown and Mason Limited  44103
Camino Leisure Holdings Limited  44138
Camino Restaurants Limited  44138
Clothing 4 Limited  44134
Cote Group (Bidco) Limited  44103
Cote Kitchens Limited  44103
Cote Restaurants Group Holdings Limited  44103
Cote Restaurants Limited  44103
Cramlington Renewable Energy Developments Hold Co Limited
Createability Limited
GBK Restaurants Limited
GBK Retail Limited
Gourmet Burger Kitchen Limited
Greenfields Meat Limited  44103
I.O.W. Tours Limited
Jackson and Rye Restaurants Limited  44103
Paypark Limited  44140
Portsmouth Language College Limited
Promo International Limited
Taste Bidco Limited  44103
The Staff Canteen  44139
 
Compulsory Liquidators Appointed s 136
Cardinal Security Limited  44106
Goco Property Services Limited  44106
Mike De Courcey Travel Limited
Renaldy Hotels Limited
Shepherd Cox Hotels (Croft on Tees) Limited
Sky World Media Limited  44103
So Create Limited  44153
 
Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
A.B. Logistics Midlands Ltd
Ace Point Travel Limited  44148
Acton Finishing (Stourbridge) Limited
Applied Business Minds Limited  44106
Artwork Design (M/C) Limited
Cardiff Bay Leisure Ltd.
Cobain Roofing Limited  44106
Crew Construction Ground Works And Civils Limited  44106
Cut & Run Limited
DCG Media Limited
Devon School of English Limited
Emerald Painters Southern Limited  06.11.2020
Energyst Media Limited  10.11.2020
Fennek Design Limited  06.11.2020
G2S Group Limited
Hanmer Freight Services Limited  10.11.2020
Hindsight Media Services Limited
Insignia Signs and Services Limited  44140
K Cruises Trading Limited
Kingfisher Graphics LLP  10.11.2020
Jon Haywood Logistics Limited
JSH Entertainment Limited  06.11.2020
Maijestic Couriers Limited
Moca Italian Delicatessen Limited  06.11.2020
N Jeeves Transport Limited
Newcastle Oil and Gas Limited
Online Marketing Now Limited
PB Tranport Limited
Premier Plastic Cards Limited  06.11.2020
Power Graphic Displays Limited
Powerline Transport Limited
Quality Care Midlands Limited
Ran Ales Limited
RJS Transport Limited  44153
Thomas Interiors Limited  44158
Townend Weaving Limited  44106
West Ewell Stores Ltd  44103
Wood Mitchell Printers Limited  44138
 
Liquidators Appointed
3CT Exhibition Services Limited  10.11.2020
AB Logistics Midlands Limited  44138
A C Cooper (Neg and Print) Limited  44103
Archant BHGC Limited  44153
Archant Holdings Limited  44153
Arlington Design Limited  10.11.2020
Barry Bensons Limited  44103
Baxter Fawcett Design Studio Limited  44103
Best And Scholes Dental Laboratories Limited  44103
Blackfriars Wine Bar Limited
1 Logistics Nationwide Limited  44103
Blue Lotus International Limited  44106
Brixton Beds and Furniture Limited  44106
Burnsides (Marketing Aids) Limited  44134
Cake Advertising & Marketing Limited  44139
Cardiff Bay Leisure Limited  44139
Chemiphase Limited  44106
Chevron Transport Limited
CKL Building Solutions Limited  44106
Continental Europe Express Limited  44106
DCG Media Limited
Eazy Printing Limited
E Haul Limited  44106
Eco Energy Go Warm Solutions Ltd  44106
EMP Publishing Limited  44103
Everything Hospitality Limited
Experience Theatre Ltd
Fox Marketing Services MC Limited
Girotondo Schools Limited  4410
GGS Photo Graphics Limited
Harrier Direct Limited  44106
Hoq Marketing Limited  44140
Innovation Logistics Limited  44103
Intelligent Media (Worldwide) Limited  44148
Kanter Transport Limited  44103
Kingfisher Graphics LLP  44155
Left Media Limited  44155
Mankind Carrier Limited  44155
Magnum & Larder Limited  44106
MLR Media Limited  44106
Monsoon Holdings (No1) Limited  44155
N & P Logistics Limited
Oakwood Construction (Midlands) Limited  44138
Odessa Print Group Limited
PB Tranport Limited  10.11.2020
PMCG Civils Design Limited  10.11.2020
Procon Construction Limited  10.11.2020
Power Start Garage Limited
Quadrant Recruitment Limited  44106
Retail Print Solutions Limited  44158
RMJ Ceramics & Building Services Limited  44103
Rosehill Press Limited
SEO Manchester Agency Limited
Sharrow Bay Hotel Limited
Specialist Models and Displays Limited  44158
STA Travel Limited
STB Printing Limited  44151
South Tynedale Railway Limited  44103
Superimpose Studio Limited  44103
Speedifix Pools Limited  44106
TDG Marketing Limited  44158
The Queen Hotel (Mosborough) Limited  44153
Three Halves Communications Limited
Top Drawer Entertainment Ltd  44148
Trinity News Leeds Limited  44106
Truckfast Truckserve Holdings Limited  44106
Tunnel Brewery Limited
Umbrella (South East) Limited  44106
Universal Tyres (Harrogate) Limited
Vision B2B Marketing & Training Ltd t/a Vision B2B  44139
Wellington Signs and Designs Limited  44151
West Somerset Motorsport Limited
Wight Bay Hotel Limited
Wms Care Services Ltd
Wood Mitchell Printers Limited  44158
Xpress News And Mags Limited  44103
Yellow Van London Limited
 
Members Voluntary Liquidations
3C Transport Limited  44148
Alldesign Limited
AMG Advertising Topco Limited  06.11.2020
Aperture Post Production Limited  44131
Applejack Estates Limited  44106
Aria Consultancy Ltd  44106
Arc Media Consulting Limited
Aviation Adventures Limited
Avon Gold Limited  44138
Axxor Media Limited  44148
Beta Baboon Limited  44106
Booth Homes Limited
Bowler Hat Solutions Limited
Braemar Property Services Limited  44103
Bridgepoint Funding II Limited  44103
Building Bridges Limited  44148
Cammock Investments Limited  44103
Campus Construction Limited
Castle Reed Motors Limited
Charter Manufacturing International Limited  44103
CME Marketing Europe Limited
Craftsmanship Limited
CRC Marketing Limited  06.11.2020
D.W. Sales and Marketing Limited  06.11.2020
Ferreir Ad Design Works Limited  06.11.2020
Effective Marketing Solutions Limited
Eleco Media Limited
Empire Design London Limited
Full House Communications Limited  44158
Gosford Meat Supply Company Limited  44103
JC Sales and Marketing Limited  44155
Level Eight Design Limited  44155
Lindsell Marketing Limited  44148
Loyallypop Limited  44106
Millane (Holdings) Limited  44106
Minium Financial Technology Ltd  44106
PCR Deliveries Limited  44106
Peter Lowe Design Limited
Purple Spark Solutions Ltd  44106
Quercus (Nursing Homes) Limited
Reader Haulage Limited  44139
Retail Interests Limited  44103
Souvenir Press (Educational and Academic))  44153
Souvenir Press Limited  44153
Stratus marketing Limited  44160
Surrey Sports Limited  44106
The Harrison Stickle Group Limited  44106
WMS Logistics Limited
 
Petitions to Wind Up
All England Gas Services Limited
BHB Partnership Limited
DJ Consulting (U.K.) Limited  44106
DPB Transport Limited  44148
Electricians 24-7 Limited  44109
I And I Media Limited
Premier Paving South West Limited  44106
Process Print (Labelling and Design) Limited
South Hospitality Trading Limited  44153
Sports Café 2008 (Leeds) Limited  44153
Wardells Design Limited  44158
 
Winding up orders
All England Gas Services Limited
AMFI Logistics Ltd
Commercial Foods Limited
HD Design and Construction Limited
Kayli Construction Limited  44139
Macclesfield Town Football Club Limited
MK Scaffolding Specialists Limited
Paragon Construction Group Limited  44138
SLK Homes and Design Limited  44153
Unlockd Media Operations Limited
 
Winding Up Dismissal
Sanguine Hospitality Limited  44151ICSM CREDIT

For information on ICSM visit www.icsmcredit.com or call 0844 854 1850.
ICSM, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR. Tel: 0844 854 1850. www.icsmcredit.comIan.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

AGENDA WEST: scam alert for the self-employed and small businesses – bogus email and link to HMRC to claim a tax refund because of Covid-19 (but there’s one tiny give-away which your eye may not notice)

Scam alert!

The scam works like this: an email arrives seemingly from the taxman or the HMRC – Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – asking you to log in to read an important message about a tax refund due to Covid-19.

If you click on the link it takes you to what appears to be the official site – everything is there as you would expect it but for one tiny detail which your eye may not pick up. Instead of the logo saying HMRC it says HRMC.

If you then click on the link to see the message about the refund it asks for your bank details to be typed in. Of course instead of sending you a refund the scammers simply drain your bank account and disappear. You’ve been warned as it is doing the rounds – preying on businesses and the self-employed who have had a difficult year and may believe the email is genuine.

And for more about Harry Mottram – journalist and much more visit http://www.harrymottram.co.uk/

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Pic: The Scotsman

I’m a fashion retailer – get me out of here! Arcadia on the brink of collapse – potentially leaving suppliers high and dry and 13,000 workers unemployed

Sky News has reported what ICSM Credit’s members have been saying for weeks that Arcadia is about to go into administration.

Famously owned by the bad boy of British retailing Sir Philip Green the group features some of the biggest names in the high street. TopShop, TopMan, Burton and Dorothy Perkins to name but a few could disappear if Arcadia collapses with Covid-19 lockdowns being the final nail in the coffin.

Pic: FT. Sir Philip Green has been in the news for all the wrong reasons 

Suppliers and staff could lose out

ICSM Credit’s Ian Carrotte has been warning members of the credit intelligence group for weeks about the industry’s concerns about Arcadia.

“Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia has been in trouble for many months,” he said, “and if it is the end then thousands of workers and hundreds of suppliers will pay the cost of mismanagement and a certain amount of bad luck.”

The bad luck he alludes to is Covid-19 and the way the Government has hit retailers and businesses in general with the lockdowns.

Pic: Cara Delevinge models a faux fur for Topshop

Mark Kleinman, City editor of Sky News reported: “Sky News has learnt that Arcadia Group – which owns TopShop, Burton and Dorothy Perkins – is preparing to appoint administrators from Deloitte as soon as next week. One retail industry figure said Arcadia’s collapse had become inevitable after talks with a number of lenders about an emergency £30m loan ended without success.

“The appointment of administrators could happen as early as Monday, although one person close to the situation said the plan had yet to be finalised and that it could yet be delayed. If the insolvency is confirmed, it is expected to trigger a scramble among creditors to get their hands on the company’s assets.

“It would involve Arcadia’s online operations and the stores which are permitted to open under lockdown restrictions to continue trading, according to one retail figure.

“Arcadia’s pension scheme is likely to have the biggest claim on proceeds generated by Deloitte, with TopShop and TopMan – the most valuable brands in Sir Philip’s empire – likely to be worth several hundred million pounds.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Those gatekeeper excuses on why you’ve not been paid including ‘the finance director is not here today,’ plus 20 more you don’t want to hear

ICSM Credit has heard just about every excuse in the book as to why one of our members has not been paid by a client. Chasing payment from a small business or a sole trader may involve visiting the person who authorises payment in their office or even at their place of work or home and putting them on the spot. When it comes to larger firms there is often a gate keeper or the accounts department is physically impossible to reach. That’s when the phone and email appears to be the only way to chase up a late payment. And that’s where the process of getting paid takes on Kafkaesque overtones – a nightmarish round of incomprehensible excuses why you haven’t been paid.

Company disinformation

One of the most irritating company policies to delay payment is the policy of disinformation. When you call the company after an invoice is unpaid there are different excuses, with each one designed to deliberately delay payment. When all of these have been used up and the creditor has lost patience then lobbying the owner or and financial director personally is the final option before legal action.

The problem is often they seem uncontactable. They are out of the country, don’t have a mobile and there doesn’t seem to be an email for them. When you eventually track them down they apologise and claim nobody has told them of the debt and they authorise payment immediately. But you have a strange feeling it may all have been a ruse or a charade. They knew all along you hadn’t been paid and pretended the accounts department were either incompetent or inefficient.

20 excuses you’ve probably heard

We won’t list ‘the cheques is in the post’ as nobody writes cheques these days but it’s a euphemism that can be used for all of these:

1 Our accounts department is very busy.

2 Our customer hasn’t paid us yet.

3 The financial director is on holiday.

4 We’re in the process of switching bank accounts.

5 Out payment terms changed so there will be a delay.

6 We haven’t any record of your invoice.

7 The person who requested the work had no authority.

8 You haven’t put a purchase order number on your invoice.

9 We have gone into administration.

10 We have been bought out and the new owners need to audit all invoices.

11 Our next payment run isn’t until the end of next month.

12 Your invoice is incorrect.

13 We can’t pay.

14 The person who authorises payment is in a meeting.

15 The person who authorises payment has suffered a family bereavement and is on compassionate leave.

16 The person who authorises payment isn’t in the building.

17 The person who authorises payment is off sick.

18 Our computer system is down.

19 We are in the middle of an office move.

20 Our accounts department has moved.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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We can’t keep going into lockdown – Ian Carrotte on how the Government’s Covid-19 policy is destroying business and creating the worst recession in living memory

End these insane lockdowns and the Covid-19 hysteria now before the country is totally ruined.

Lockdowns destroy businesses despite the furlough scheme, loans and grants as industry cannot stop and start on the dictate of a Cabinet minister or a medical adviser.

Lockdowns prevent people having their cancer scans, health checks and operations as many are terrified by the coverage that Covid-19 gets in the media. And that fear factor has clouded the minds of many to an extent they would rather stay at home with a serious medical problem than dial 999.

Lockdowns are not necessary as Sweden has shown. Sensible precautions and social distancing has meant their economy has not been ruined while the death rate is no different from most equivalent Western nations. And yet they have encouraged social distancing, mask wearing and working at home if possible but the draconian measures the UK have introduced were not put into law. They treated their citizens as grown-ups.

With lockdowns there is the dubious legal aspect as outlined by the former supreme court judge Jonathan Sumption this week. The government has effectively outlawed dissent, placing most of the population under a type of house arrest and banning a range of activities and civil liberties such as playing tennis that you would associate with a totalitarian state. And this is supposed to be a libertarian Conservative Party in office. Instead we have a small group of people who have never run a business or not known where their next pay cheque will come from making all the decisions. Decisions which often fly in the face of common sense. They appear out of touch with the business community and out of touch with the lives of normal people. No wonder the likes of the chairman of the 1922 Committee Sir Graham Brady is on the warpath.

The Office of National Statistics (that’s the Government’s own compiler of information) continues to publish data about the effects of the pandemic and the way it is being tackled that contradict the views of Downing Street. The numbers of excess deaths in comparison to previous years that are not attributed to Covid-19 is now running in the tens of thousands. Suicides, mental illness and domestic violence are all up. In short the cure is as bad as the way the virus is being tackled.

And then there is the effect on jobs, businesses and the economy. And I’ve not even mentioned the massive borrowing by the Chancellor to pay for all the schemes.

We’ve got a Brexit trade deal to sort out, a full scale recession in progress, record numbers of businesses calling it a day, a potential trade deal with the USA in the balance and millions out of work together with a lost generation of young people.

I speak to businesses every day at ICSM Credit and there is real concern that they have been forgotten. Around a million self-employed haven’t received a penny in the lockdowns, sole traders as Limited companies have been missed out as has anyone starting a business since April 2019. And then there are the firms who can only survive by shedding jobs or closing and doing a phoenix.

Like many I do not have the confidence in the accuracy of the statics and graphs touted at press conferences by the powers that be. Yes we must protect the NHS so it isn’t over whelmed but surely with all what we’ve learnt this year it cannot be as bad as March when the virus killed so many.

I will say it and I will say it again. Like Sweden we must get used to the idea of living with Covid-19.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Urgent ICSM Credit Industry Wide Warning: beware the dodgy debt collectors who only want more of your money for doing nothing

Pictures posed by an actor

Urgent ICSM Credit Industry Wide Warning: beware the dodgy debt collectors who only want more of your money for doing nothing

The scenario seems to make sense. A client of yours went bust owing £10,000 a few months ago leaving you angry and massively out of pocket. You even had to cut costs and take out a loan to survive. Then a company contacts you to say they can get your money back as the directors of the defunct company were trading fraudulently.

Official Receiver’s list

It sounds plausible but there is a catch. To proceed with the recovery work there’s a fee based on the percentage of the amount your client owed you plus VAT and a basic admin fee. ICSM Credit members have had a number of these firms contact them offering to recoup your losses. As soon as you agree to their terms by email they consider it a legal contract and you are then sent an invoice. For the £10,000 debt there’s a 2% charge, a £75 admin fee and VAT on top. And so far they’ve not done any recovery work. If you pay up the requested amount at least you might feel the bulk of the £10,000 will soon be in your bank account. Wrong – you’ve been conned. The so-called debt collector pockets the money and does nothing.

“We have known cases where the Lazarus debt collector (as I call them) then asks for a release fee claiming to have secured the debt,” said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit. “One member sadly fell for it sent another couple of hundred pounds to them only for the Lazarus operation to send a fresh invoice for administration. Of course they have not even approached the debtor. They have taken their details from the Official Receiver’s lists to make it sound like they know the business. It’s a con.”

Ian Carrotte said the difficult trading conditions created by the pandemic and its effects on business had led to an upsurge in firms going bust or not paying their bills.

“The Lazarus debt collectors are back,” he said, “so be on your guard. To collect long standing debts there are set ways to go about it. At ICSM Credit we have secured hundreds of thousands of pounds this year for members by using our trusted professional and effective methods of a combination of diplomacy and legal methods. And the golden rule is never part with cash up front – no professional company would expect that.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST BUSINESS NEWS: Are the DVLA selling your commercial vehicle details to cowboy parking firms? Plus hauliers collapse into administration due to Covid-19

With a drop in retail footfall there has been a fall in the number of haulage contracts to ferry in goods to high street traders. It is one of the knock on effects of Covid-19 which has led to financial difficulties for some haulage companies.

Ian Carrotte said there had been a string of casualties this year due to the pandemic but many of the hauliers going bust had historic debt which could no longer be serviced.

“Anecdotally we have heard from members of ICSM Credit that some hauliers have been switching to vans to use in the home delivery industry,” he said, “we’ve also noticed increasing nervousness in the haulage industry over the approaching deadline for the Brexit deal with the news of the Kent Access Permit leading to more uncertainty within the industry.”

DVLA challenged

Writing in the trade publication Motor Transport Chris Tindall has reported on an Essex haulier who suspects something rotten in the state of the DVLA.

He wrote: “KBC Logistics said it had complained to the licensing agency for ‘misuse of keeper data’ as it receives around six letters a day from parking firms claiming it owes them money. The company refused to back down when UK Car Park Management attempted to take legal action over an unpaid £60 PCN.”

ICSM Credit ran the story earlier this year as many companies and members of the public have been stung by cowboy parking firms who send out bogus demands for payment.

“KBS Logistics couldn’t believe the amount of demands they were getting,” said Ian Carrotte, “and the most obvious source of the information that firms were getting was from Swansea.”

Now KBS has contacted the DVLA to demand an explanation. The haulier’s MD was reported by Chris Tindall as having said: “For the last two years I have received several hundred letters from these companies and associated collection agencies threatening action for the unpaid penalties, the oldest one being June 2017. The amount of correspondence is ridiculous.”

A DVLA spokesman said in a statement: “We are writing to the customer with regards to his concerns and the specific issues mentioned in the letter.”

Truckfast Truckserve liquidated

Motor Transport have reported that the Dartford-based independent HGV rental company Truckfast Truckserve is being wound up after liquidators were appointed to the firm.

The trade publication said: “Incorporated six years ago, Truckfast specialised in contract hire, rental and leasing of heavy commercial vehicles. Its fleet included 6×2 tractor units; 8×4 tippers; skip loaders; flatbeds and curtainsiders. The last available set of accounts, for the year ending 31 August 2019, showed that the company possessed fixed assets of £746,500. Following a virtual meeting of creditors on 28 September, a resolution was passed for the business to be wound up voluntarily and Philippa Smith at Smith & Barnes insolvency practitioners was appointed as liquidator. Smith & Barnes did not respond as we went to press and Truckfast director David Allon did not return our calls.”

More hauliers go bust

In September Roanza, the Mercedes truck dealer entered administration after trading in the red and losing money for several years according to insolvency practitioners Jason Bell and Sarah O’Toole at Grant Thornton. The firm collapsed with losses of more than a million pounds and 441 staff losing their jobs.

In Gloucester the courier firm Lima logistics went bust but earlier this month John Dinman Transport bought the assets and business of the company. Motor Transport’s Chris Tindall reported: “The Pall-Ex member company appointed insolvency experts at Quantuma Advisory on 22 September after it became the latest victim of the Covid-19 pandemic. Lima Logistics, which was formed in 2015, is based on the Churcham business park, but owner John Dinham confirmed to motortransport.co.uk that it had purchased the business and intended to relocate the business by the end of next week.”

And finally it’s been reported that Cartwright Conversions, a subsidiary of the Cartwright Group in administration, has been sold to Sheffield-based Trek Group in a £4.8m deal. Chris Tindall said that the former staff who lost their jobs when the business entered administration are pursuing legal action after alleging that it failed to properly consult them.

Ian Carrotte said: “Businesses collapse even in the best of times when credit is easy and the economy is flying. But there’s no doubt the effects of the Government’s actions in tackling the Covid-19 crisis has forced many firms into liquidation. We will look back at some stage and realise that perhaps there could have been a better way to protect the economy as they have in Sweden.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Picture: ITV’s Paul Brand

Axbridge Chamber of Commerce member issues a red warning to firms who supply care homes with anything from brochures to blankets as the numbers closing or being liquidated rises – revealed in ITV’s shocking report

It was once seen as a rock solid business venture due to the increasing numbers of elderly people but with Covid-19 the retirement home sector has collapsed.

Hundreds of homes have closed due to the pandemic taking the lives of thousands of their residents.

“Relatives and their elderly parents and grandparents are reluctant to send them to a home,” said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit, “decimating the cash flow of the retirement homes and sending them into liquidation. Suppliers are not getting paid or being paid late, and when a care home group goes bust they can lose everything. It’s a red warning light to anyone who supplies carehomes.”

ITV reveals extent of problem

Paul Brand of Independent Television has reported on the crisis in care homes painting a dramatic picture of empty beds, grieving relatives and collapsing industry.

He wrote on ITV’s website: “Care homes across the UK are on the brink of closure due to a dramatic rise in empty beds during the Covid pandemic, ITV News can reveal.Figures we’ve obtained from 61 councils in England, Scotland and Wales show that across the country the number of vacancies has almost doubled in a year, rising by 88%.With responsibility for care devolved to local authorities, our data shows empty beds increasing across almost every council area, but homes in some parts of the country have suffered particularly acutely.

“In Liverpool, vacancies – or ‘voids’ as care homes refer to them – were up 395% in August compared with the same time last year. In East Cheshire they had risen by 249% and in Derbyshire by 169%.

“The picture was similar across each of the three home nations that provided us with data. In Wales, vacancies were up 153% in Caerphilly, 123% in Neath Port Talbot and 121% in Merthyr.In Scotland, Dundee’s voids have shot up by 318% in a year, while the rise in South Lanarkshire is 282% and 122% in Glasgow.”

Ian Carrotte noted that ITV cited two care homes run by Shaw Healthcare in Speke and Everton which were in danger of closing, while many more are teetering on the brink.

“Many care homes are part of a larger company,” he said, “but many are stand-alone businesses, often converted from former hotels. The Governments of the UK are putting in millions of pounds into care homes so they can buy more PPE and to help them during the crisis but it is widely reported that around 1,000 have closed since March. That’s a lot of suppliers left unpaid – so maximum caution if you are a business asked to supply a care home this winter.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST BUSINESS NEWS: Covid 19 causes more printers to call in the administrators, plus anger over the firm taking five years to pay suppliers

Incompetent management, bad debts or a lost client can all sink a business, but there’s a new one that Ian Carrotte is increasingly angry about: Covid-19.

“We are seeing on a daily basis perfectly viable businesses going to the wall because of the Government’s policies on suppressing the virus by shutting down entire economies,” he said, “shops, pubs, hotels, printers – you name it and firms are going bust like it was the Wall Street Crash. And it is all unnecessary as if we adopted the Swedish model, the economy would not be hit so bad. If you look at the statistics deaths per million there are no different from countries adopting the nuclear option and imposing lock-downs or Sweden that allows business as normal with sensible precautions.”

Westdale Press in administration

The print industry trade publication Print Week have reported the down fall of Westdale Press whose demise has been caused by Covid-19.

Jo Francis reported: “Administrators from Menzies were appointed at the Cardiff-based company yesterday (15 October) by managing director and owner Alan Padbury. Padbury told Printweek that he had strived to find a way to save the business, which employed around 85 staff. It previously had sales of £13m but had been ‘limping along’ at about £8m this year.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said the firm was highly respected but had been made unviable by the economic fall-out from the government’s business shut-downs.

He said: “I know the owner had fought long and hard to save the business even selling his car to raise cash and had tried every avenue there was. Sadly this is becoming a common event: viable businesses destroyed by the way the Government has handled this crisis.”

Creditors meeting for Publishing House

Insolvency practitioners Lisa Jane Hogg and Gemma Louise Roberts of Wilson Field in Sheffield have set a date on October 26, 2020, for a meeting of creditors for the Sunderland based firm Ogilvie Publishing.

Ogilvie Publishing was established in 2001 following a UK management buy-out from Houston-based Hart Energy. Ogilvie published three newsletters on the oil and gas industry:  E&P Daily, European Offshore Petroleum Newsletter and Asia Oil and Gas Newsletter.

One of the aspects of the Covid-19 crisis is the knock on effect to the oil trade. Industry commentator Arthur D Little said: “With the oil and gas industry currently locked into a cycle of oversupply, low prices and volatility, the economic downturn created by the COVID-19 crisis is likely to deal a major blow to many companies. Investors have found the sector increasingly unattractive over the past 10 years. Any further, prolonged period of low oil prices is likely to see them divert their capital elsewhere as the traditional oil and gas business model becomes even riskier and less commercially attractive.”

Ian Carrotte said the bottom had fallen out of the oil industry which has caused ripples across multiple sectors from redundancies to publications covering the business.

More jobs go in Belfast

The Irish Times have reported on the downfall of Ards in the city of Belfast. Gary McDonald the newspaper’s business editor reported: “Forty jobs will go after long-established Newtownards firm Peninsula Print & Design in Newtownards went into administration. The family-run company blamed the decision on the ‘catastrophic downturn in business’ over the last six months and also the ‘inestimable impact’ of the tragic loss of its founder and managing director Gary Withers in May. Peninsula provided print services for organisations across the business spectrum – from large multinationals and government departments to small businesses and self-employed sole traders.

“The company said that while every effort was made to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 by utilising the government furlough scheme, a significant drop-off in new orders meant the administration process was the only way forward.”

Ian Carrotte commented that it was another case of a viable business hit by a number of factors but finished off by the way Stormont had enforced Westminster’s Covid-19 rules.

Anger over Helloprint’s ‘antics’

Earlier this year the owners of Helloprint contacted ICSM Credit’s Harry Mottram complaining about his story on ICSM’s website.

They wanted a positive spin to be put on their business rather than the one also reported in Print Week by Jo Francis over the online print firm’s request to suppliers to be paid over five years rather than the usual 30 days.

Based in Holland but with a wide base of customers and suppliers including many in the UK the firm operates online by taking orders with upfront payment unlike traditional printers. It was this aspect that so infuriated the industry as the company had managed to run up millions of Euros in debt with suppliers.

Now Helloprint have announced they have had fresh funding which means they can continue in business. Print Week reported in September: “Earlier this year the print aggregator experienced a massive drop-off in sales and asked its print suppliers to help it survive by either accepting a percentage of what they were currently owed, or a deferred payment of the total amount plus interest, to be paid over five years.”

Jo Francis reported that the MD Scheffer had said that fresh funding of €5m (£4.5m) had now been secured over the summer, and “everything is back on track” blaming a 90% drop in orders on Covid-19.

“I note that Scheffer has blamed Brexit along with a software problem on their website,” said Ian Carrotte, “but they take cash up front and then take time in paying suppliers. They still owe creditors millions and these antics prompt real anger. You only have to see the comments on Print Week’s website about the story to realise how the print industry feels about this. I urge suppliers not to supply them with goods as their track record is terrible.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST BUSINESS INSOLVENCY NEWS: historic railway goes bust; Call Print leaves creditors with £1.2m in unpaid invoices; and family firm Clarks shoe shops seek CVA

The Covid-19 rules are destroying perfectly good businesses is the view of Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit. Politicians don’t seem to understand what they are doing to the business community as the rules are taking away customers and increasing unemployment more rapidly than any fiancial crisis he said. The failures include heritage railways and shoe shops – let alone pubs hit by the 10pm law.

Running out of steam

That bastion of good old fashioned news reporting the Cumberland and Westmoreland Herald has recorded the sad news that the South Tynedale Railway operator has entered administration with the loss of five jobs on the heritage line.

The newspaper said: “The company which runs the narrow gauge line between Alston and Slaggyford, has become insolvent and is no longer active, with five of its employees, based in Alston, having been made redundant. However, the separate South Tynedale Railway Preservation Society — which has run and developed the line since 1983 — is still going strong and its trustees and volunteers believe they might be able to keep their popular steam locomotives operating in future years. The line has been shut this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said any business that is only allowed 20% of its usual customers due to Covid-19 restrictions will fail. He said: “The Government needs to show more common sense in imposing the rules on all forms of business. You can squash onto a tube in London but not take your place next so someone on a heritage railway carriage. It’s leading to the demise of perfectly good operations.”

The trustees and volunteers will look after the railway site over the winter while consideration is given to a new business model under which the line could be run on a voluntary basis.

The end extended

Print Week’s Jo Francis has reported this week on the administration process for Call Print Group Ltd and Call Print Services Ltd which has been extended again.

She wrote: “In their latest progress report to creditors sent at the end of last month, joint administrators Philip Duffy and Benjamin Wiles of Duff & Phelps said that the administration had been extended by order of the court to 31 August 2021. An administration usually comes to an end after one year. The Call Print Group and Call Print Services process was originally extended on 1 August 2019.

“A year ago Printweek revealed that the administrators had found “material misstatements” in the group’s previously filed accounts and had deployed forensic accountants as part of an investigation into transactions that took place prior to its administration. A number of creditors were known to have flagged concerns about the sale of Callprint’s Dubai-based business, Call Print Express, to the group’s then-managing director Steve Cheek less than a month before the business filed an NOI (notice of intention to appoint administrators).”

Duffy and Wiles said in their latest report: “Previously, several letters before action were issued with a view to recovering funds for the companies, based upon evidence uncovered in the joint administrators’ investigations. The joint administrators cannot, at this stage, detail the nature of the claims made, as doing so could hamper any further actions which may be required.”

The majority of Callprint’s trade and assets were acquired by Hobs Group in a pre-pack deal. Callprint owed trade creditors more than £1.2m at the time of administration.

Shoe shops in trouble

Business Report have highlighted the plight of struggling family-owned footwear retailer, Clarks, as it seeks a settlement with its creditors.

They said: “A Company Voluntary Arrangement is being mooted, led by LionRock Capital. The CVA would involve up to 50 shop closures as well as a switch to turnover-based rents. Also upon the CVAs approval would be more than £100m fresh capital investment from the Hong-Kong based private equity fund. This would be the first time that the founding family shareholder would loose majority control over the company, in all of its 195-year existence.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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With apologies to Raquel Welch in the movie One Million Years BC

ICSM Credit’s Newsletter September 2020: Survival of the fittest in the economically chilling aftermath of the Covid-19 Crisis

2020 has seen the worst economic downturn since the 1930s according to economists – but there are reasons to be positive about 2021

Hello and welcome to our monthly newsletter,

Let’s face it, so far 2020 sucks. But on the positive side the worst may be behind us as the economy begins its climb out of the mess left by the Covid-19 shut-down. 

In the positive Darwinian sense if your business can survive a recession then it will only thrive as things improve. A bit like when mammals replaced dinosaurs after a meteor wiped them out 65 million years ago. Or in popular cinematic culture when Loana (Raquel Welch) and the Sea Tribe survive the volcano to emerge into a desolate landscape in the 1966 movie One Million Years BC to rebuild their lives. 

At ICSM Credit we monitor failing businesses that may go bust leaving a trail of unpaid invoices for suppliers. Together with our members we highlight them so suppliers don’t get left high and dry if the worst happens. Sadly this autumn will see more companies go bust as the furlough scheme ends but we have had success in saving our members hundreds of thousands of pounds in bad debts this year by flagging up problem firms. And our debt collection sector has never been busier or more successful – so don’t hesitate to contact us if you have a problem – or use our free legal letters to secure payment.

In this issue there is plenty of news about liquidations, CVAs, mergers and acquisitions in all sectors of UK businesses. One feature I think will be of interest is the one on ten positive changes you can make to your business in a post-pandemic world. It highlights the importance of keeping a tight grip on credit control, establishing reserves, consolidating costs, and pivoting your business among other useful tips.

One tip I will give is if you haven’t yet joined ICSM Credit yet is to to join now as we have a temporary free membership which ends when furloughing is scrapped – it could save your business from bad debts this autumn.

There’s lots more news on the website and on our social media on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn – stay in touch and keep on keeping on.

Best wishes
Ian Carrotte
Proprietor of ICSM Credit
For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com




ICSM Credit, the Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR

Not a member? Normally you can join for less than a tank of diesel and protect yourself from late payers but we have a special free temporary membership offer in September. Use our free legal letters to chase unpaid invoices.

For a video on how to send a FREE LEGAL LETTER visit:https://youtu.be/AIycysoFhYo
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Covid-19: 10 positive changes you must make to your business in a post pandemic world

Thousands of businesses have gone to the wall and millions have lost their jobs – yes Covid 19 has been a disaster for the UK economy. Except for one aspect. Work and fiscal practices that may not have taken place in many work-places have been fast forwarded due to the urgent nature of the crisis. It’s all about survival.

1 Credit control must change

Many firms have not been paid by their clients for work invoiced before the crisis began in March. The shut-down hasn’t helped but in many sectors 120 days credit is not unusual. When a firm goes into administration the creditors are left with four months of unpaid work as well as any work in progress. If however a supplier insists on 30 days credit then clearly if the worst happens the economic hit is much less. Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said tight credit control is vital as it can be the difference of a company surviving or not going under if they are hit by a bad debt. He said discount invoicing for prompt payment simply undercut a firm’s profitability while factoring often meant a company was trading at a loss.

2 Have something in reserve

Too many businesses have virtually no reserves so when an unexpected bill comes in from the taxman or they hit a lean period such as the Covid 19 shut down meaning they run out of cash. Putting away money into a reserve account should be standard practice said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit. He said it was one the lessons that many companies have learnt to their cost with the only option to borrow to bail themselves out of a hole. A rule of thumb is to put by up to six months of all business costs in an account as a cash reserve. Whenever that reserve is eaten into then, as soon as possible, replace it. Easier said than done I’m sure some will reply.

3 Review your office requirements

With many people working from home a lot of firms have realised they may not need large city centre offices. One option is to down size to a hub or smaller office and ask staff to come in for one or two days a week and work at home for the rest of the time. A hub is essentially a small office with a meeting room and enough work spaces for hot desking.

4 Consolidate factory and workshops

Some firms work from more than one site. With fewer staff retained and an examination of surplus space it is possible for many businesses to consolidate onto one site. There is a saving in communication, logistics, labour, rent, business rates, utility bills and the storage of stock. It may also be able to reduce the amount of vans, pool cars and other high value kit which may be leased.

5 Cash is king

Having several smaller clients who pay regularly every month are a safer bet than a handful of major clients whose work is irregular if lucrative. Having all your eggs in one basket is always risky especially if your one major client gets into trouble or there is another pandemic. A large number of customers who pay on 30 days or less means your business will always have cash flow – and cash is king as it gives your business flexibility and the ability to pivot in a crisis and seek a new income stream.

6 Utilise what you have

Several manufacturers ranging from packaging to printing have moved into the production of PPE during the Covid-19 crisis. Other firms with virtually no business during the shut-down have reallocated their delivery vans into delivering for other firms.

7 Pivoting your business

If the business you are in is one of low profit margins and huge competitions driving prices lower take a look at options to pivot your enterprise into. Some traditional printers have moved into packaging, agricultural businesses have upgraded buildings into holiday lets, and shop-fitters into flat and home fitters completing work for estate agents and building firms. The important thing is once you see an opportunity is to do it quickly to save time and money. Over a period of years successful firms pivot from one type of business model to another.

8 Social media is not an add-on

Firms who have grasped social media when it first became a thing in the last decade have found during the lock-down they were able to continue getting their message across. For many companies the shut-down has been a wake up call as to how they communicate. One lesson of the Covid-19 crisis is that social media is not an option. Whether you are a pub, a litho printer, a marketing company or a legal firm building a following through Instagram, FaceBook, Twitter, YouTube and all the other platforms prevents you from disappearing from your customers’ awareness.

9 Zoom in for a meeting

Sending executives or sales people half-way around the world for a one hour meeting is expensive and often unnecessary. Nobody is saying that face to face meetings are dead as in the old phrase, people buy people. But often those meetings can be conducted by Zoom or other formats on the internet. So many companies have been reviewing the ROI for not just meetings, but visits to trade shows, team building weekends, seminars and conferences which have sometimes been seen as at best rewards and at worst jollies.

10 Have a plan B

Many people have said their business went off a cliff on March 23rd. Literally no trade at all. And yet pubs were suddenly becoming take-aways, restaurants were doing home deliveries and retailers geared up to become entirely online businesses during the lock-down recording record sales. We don’t know if there will be another pandemic but something sooner or later will happen to disrupt business. Those of us who have long memories will recall the fuel delivery strike of the 90s, the three day week of the 70s and the Big Freeze of the 60s. Having a Plan B is vital just in case the worst happens.

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NEWS: Home Secretary intervenes over BooHoo’s suppliers scandal and retweets our story!

ICSM Credit’s Ian Carrotte has welcomed the intervention of the home secretary in the scandal that has rocked the UK fast fashion world over low wages and poor work practices.

“Priti Patel has made it plain to the owners of the fashion firm BooHoo that they have not treated their workers and suppliers properly,” he said, “paying below the minimal wage is illegal but the way BooHoo have cut off their suppliers and put the blame on them shows a callous attitude which will leave firms with unpaid invoices.”

In a letter to Boohoo CEO John Lyttle, Priti Patel wrote: “I am concerned that your response to recent reports of labour exploitation in your supply chains appears to be focused on terminating contracts with suppliers found to have breached your code of conduct, rather than on protecting vulnerable workers. I would expect Boohoo to work with its suppliers to ensure that workers are protected and remediated. It is now more important than ever before that businesses step up and take responsibility for conditions in their supply chain.”

The Manchester-based fashion firm had been exposed by the Sunday Times for paying workers as little as £3.50 an hour and refusing to let them leave their Leicester factories when unwell even when they had contracted Covid-19. The firm announced they would build a so-called model factory and end their relationship with their suppliers and set up a review process. However sceptics have suggested they were evading their responsibilities, pretending to address criticisms and have failed to pay suppliers and staff caught up in the scandal. One footnote to this story is that Priti Patel retweeted our story on Twitter. Even members of the Government read ICSM Credit News.

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MORE STORIES FROM ICSM’s WEBSITESEE THE WEBSITE FOR THE FULL STORIES – AND MUCH MORE

Duchess’ favourite store in CVA

Print industry liquidations mount as Covid-19 effect biteshttps://www.icsmcredit.com/news/viewpost.php?id=292

Crisis for the trade show industry as events pulled (full list of lost trade exhibitions here)

Sushi chain puts CVA on the menu

https://www.icsmcredit.com/news/viewpost.php?id=286

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OPINION
Furloughing has been abused by 33% of employers and resulted in new work practices which are bad for the economy
https://www.icsmcredit.com/news/viewpost.php?id=279

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Print Industry News: print trade shows pulled until 2021; problems for print trade press; magazine sales plunge during Covid-19; and Latimer Trend workers’ redundancy victory

With Print Monthly magazine currently online only, the Print Show, Fespa and Drupa pulled until next year and a raft of printing companies going to the wall it is fair to say Covid-19 has had a disproportionate effect on the industry here and abroad.

Trade shows put back

Writing on the Print Show’s website the director Chris Davies said: “We have made the difficult decision to postpone The Print Show 2020 and The Sign Show 2020 until next year, due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (Covid-19) situation in the UK. The safety of exhibitors and visitors is our number one priority and though this was not an easy choice, we believe it to be the right course of action. However, we are delighted to confirm that The Print Show and The Sign Show will both take place in 2021. The shows will run from September 28th to 30th at the NEC in Birmingham and we will publish further updates as soon as possible.”

Meanwhile Drupa have moved their show back a year in Germany and Fespa has shifted their exhibition to the Netherlands next spring. Print Week reported: “Fespa has now effectively cancelled its 2020 event and brought forward the 2021 show, which had initially been penciled in for Munich in May 2021, avoiding a clash with next year’s rescheduled Drupa in Dusseldorf. The Fespa four-day 2021 Global Print Expo, which is co-located with European Sign Expo and Sportswear Pro, will now take place at the RAI Exhibition Centre in Amsterdam on 9-12 March.”

Rob Fletcher has been holding the fort for Print Monthly

No show magazine and video news

Print Week published their July issue of the trade journal while the publication struggles to deal with the pandemic’s effects on the industry. Meanwhile rival publication Print Monthly has gone on line for the time being and the operation behind it have temporarily stopped their weekly video news for printers while most staff are furloughed. Consulting editor Rob Fletcher however has continued to load up stories to the website including the news that Zecher, an international provider of anilox roller solutions, has become the latest company to announce that it won’t be turning up to Drupa. Sadly a sign of our times as all trade shows are being hit. See our feature at https://www.icsmcredit.com/news/viewpost.php?id=280

Latimer Trend workers in compensation battle

Writing for Print Week Darryl Danielli highlighted a success for workers laid off by the Plymouth print outfit Latimer Trend when the company went bust.

He wrote: “Close to 50 former employees of Latimer Trend & Company, which collapsed just under a year ago, have won their ‘failure to consult’ compensation claims and their lawyer has warned directors to ensure they properly consult with staff over redundancies. The judgement, which was issued by the Plymouth Employment Tribunal last week, means the 47 staff that made a claim are each in line for additional payments of up to £4,304.”

He continued: “Presiding judge NJ Walker issued the judgement ‘by consent’, but the employees’ solicitor, Nuala Toner, managing director of employment specialist Nualaw, said that initially the administrators were going to defend, but agreed to a judgment by consent ‘after we pointed out that the defence was not particularly strong.’”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said that companies often claim ‘special circumstances defense’ when insolvency is involved. He said: “This case shows directors who often walk away with their salaries must at the very least inform staff of a firm’s demise as they can be held liable.”

Print Week reported that following the agreement, the former employees dropped various other claims against the company including some for unfair and constructive dismissal. They said a judgement by consent is where all the parties agree the terms in which a judgment should be given.

One of the comments posted on Print Week’s site wrote: “Failure to consult employees is a schoolboy error and company directors should know better. This often can be an expensive error and one employment judges at tribunal come down hard on.”

Gareth Ward

Print Business reports on poor magazine sales

Writing for the trade publication Print Business Gareth ward said: “Covid-19 has accelerated declines in magazine circulations, according to ABC figures for the first six months of the year. Some publishers are hoping for a bounce back as lockdown restrictions end and consumers are able to buy publications from newsagents as part of their daily ritual, but others are less sure. The last few months have been marked by high profile closures on both sides of the Atlantic: for example Q in the UK and O, the Oprah Winfrey magazine in the US.

“Magazines across the board have lost readers, from television listing titles to women’s interest and lifestyle. The only exceptions are in food and gardening, perhaps a reflection of activities that have been possible during lockdown. BBC’s Gardeners’ World increased sales 8% to 221,422 copies and Garden Answers rose 7% to 50,888.”

Ian Carrotte said the Covid-19 crisis had simply accelerated the decline in circulations in sales because people couldn’t get to the shops as normal. “Coupled with a long term drop in sales due to the internet,” he added, “it is no surprise the industry has had more bad news.”

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STOP PRESS

Dodgy print farmer of ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ is back ripping off clients
https://www.icsmcredit.com/news/viewpost.php?id=285 

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Runners and Riders
Below is a collated list taken from the Government’s London Gazette of various businesses who are experiencing problems in the last few weeks. Ones that catch the eye include The Red Group Print & Design in the print and publishing world, while in transport Market Hall Logistics have gone and in the travel industry the high profile name of Travelex has gained national headlines, plus in the Covid-19 hit care home industry Wadsworth Care Homes went under – who will be next?

Administrators Appointed
Aero Technics Design Limited  44055
Bagel Nash Limited  44054
B.D. (S/W) Limited  44048
Belem Developments Limited  44048
Byron Hamburgers Limited  44046
Country Pub Group Limited  44048
Cruden Construction Limited  44048
Cruden Group Limited  44048
Cruden Property Services Limited  44048
Drayton Manor Park (Catering) Limited  44048
Drayton Manor Park Hotels Limited  44048
Drayton Manor Park Limited  44048
Floating Festivals Limited  44067
Foodpac Limited  44061
Forest Inns (UK) Limited  44054
Hinterlands Venue Limited  44048
MPS Realisations Limited (Formerly Madley Property Services Limited)  44046
No 1 Currency Limited  44046
Northern Safety Supplies Limited  44068
Parkview Battersea Limited  44055
Regal Holiday Homes Limited  44055
RMG PPM Realisations Limited  44060
RMG Realisations Limited  44060
Thomas Exchange Global Limited  44046
TokenHouse VB Limited  44048
Travelex Financing PLC  44054
Travelex Group Investments Limited  44054
Travelex Holdings Limited  44054
Travelex Limited  44054
Travelex UK Limited  44054
Willow Inns (UK) Limited  44054
Woody Inns Limited  44054
Wrexham Wire Limited  44054

Administrators Meetings Para 51
P.J. Brown (Construction) Limited  44043
Travelex Banknotes Limited  44068

Compulsory Liquidators Appointed s 136
Windrush Cottages Limited  44048

Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation Deemed in Consent Meetings
Air2Energy Limited  44046
A.F. Collison Bill Posting Services Limited  44043
Analysis and Modelling Limited  44043
Barry Construction Limited  44043
CM IT Consultancy Limited  44048
CR Catering Ltd  44048
Construction Training Academy Limited  44060
David Ashworth Butchers Limited  44046
Davies Building Solutions Limited  44061
Exhibitions Plus Limited  44067
Glosol Limited  44046
Great White Events Limited  44054
Gun Dog Ales Limited  44043
Kindlow Limited  44046
Live in the UK Limited  44046
Optical Forming Limited  44046
M&J (the Gables) Limited  44043
Mast Display Limited  44060
New Space Constructions Ltd  44060
NKS Property Maintenance Ltd  44054
Pendle Ventures Clitheroe Limited  44046
Southborough Construction Limited  44046
Tailormade Fitted Furniture Limited 44048
The Brook Coffee Company Limited  44060
Top Table Hire Limited  44060

Liquidators Appointed
3 Frank Monkeys Limited  44048
All About Electricals Limited  44048
ABH Installations Limited  44046
Alfa Joinery Limited  44042
Atlas Wynd Ltd  44048
A.F. Collison Bill Posting Services  44060
Analysis and Modelling Limited  44060
BB CAD Designs Limited  44048
Bishop’s Move (Tunbridge Wells) Limited  44068
Bishop’s Move Distribution Services Limited  44068
Broadway Business Hub Limited  44042
BW McGregor Engineering Limited  44046
Centurion Construction (London) Limited  44061
Clayton’s Cards Limited  44042
Classic Home Improvements (Warrington) Limited  44046
Coffeesmiths (North) Limited  44042
Colour Cubed Limited  44067
Connect Drivers Limited  44042
Construction DDC Limited  44046
Commercial Solar Installer Limited  44060
Corinthian Masonry Limited  44046
Cove Construction (SW) Limited  44054
CPUK Commercial Limited  44054
Cue Design Limited  44048
Coffeesmiths (Independents) Limited  44043
DDM Fab Limited  44043
Deluxe Mobile Homes Limited  44043
De Build Limited  44054
Doublequick Limited  44048
DV Foods Limited  44054
David Ashworth Butchers Limited  44060
Denim T9 Limited  44060
Ela Trading Limited  44060
Euro-Connex Limited  44048
Ekult Group Limited  44046
Fashion Nation (UK) Limited  44068
Galtee Interiors Limited  44067
Gambaru Fitness Limited  44043
Gateway Logistic Services Limited  44060
G & B Logitstics Limited  44067
Grace Pippa Limited  44060
Gun Dog Ales Limited  44060
Island Trading Company limited (The)  44043
K & S Packing Limited  44048
Land Shuttle Limited  44054
Laser Metal Fabrication Limited  44048
Lewis Visuals Limited  44046
Ludgate Building And Construction Limited  44062
MAP Electrical Limited  44046
Market Hall Logistics Limited  44068
M.E.A. Publications Limited  44060
Nicholl Food Packaging Limited  44060
Network Coffee Limited  44054
Nirvana Hairdressing Company Limited  44046
N.T. Whitfield (Transport) Limited  44048
NQ Retail London Limited  44042
One Performance UK Limited  44043
Pear Communications Limited  44042
Paton’s (Shifnal) Limited T/A Patons of Shifnal  44048
Patshull Park UK Limited  44046
PHA (Northampton) Limited  44046
Pendle Ventures Clitheroe Ltd  44060
Pendle Ventures Grills Limited  44060
Porky’s Bakehouse Ltd  44060
Prestige Diamonds Limited  44060
Providence Print & Mailing Limited  44060
Quest MH Limited  44054
Riva Retail Limited  44046
RSJ Safety Limited  44048
Rochay Productions Limited  44043
Salop Motorsport Limited  44060
Secure Surroundings Limited  44048
Sky High Building Contractors Limited  44042
Streamline Nationwide Limited  44048
The Preservation Company (UK) Limited  44048
The Cog Research & Marketing Limited  44042
The Red Group Print & Design Limited  44067
UK Theatres Online Limited  44043
VRA Transport Limited  44043
Wholepress Limited  44048
Wonderland Soft Play Limited  44054
Woodlane Building Contractors Limited  44054

Members Voluntary Liquidations
Alan Chandler Marketing Limited  44055
Aim Digital Solutions Limited  44060
APB Construction UK Limited  44060
Blue Octal Limited  44048
BG Iran Limited  44054
BG IT Solutions Limited  44061
BG Karachaganak Trading Limited  44054
Brazil Shipping II Limited  44054
Connectors Cables Specialists (CCS UK) Limited  44054
C. Pike Limited  44048
Carlton Consulting Limited  44046
Comptel Communications Limited  44067
Controstar Media Limited  44061
Creative Broadcast Services Holdings (2) Limited  44043
Creative Broadcast Services Limited  44043
Clear Vista Media Limited  44043
Cloudspot Limited  44042
Deepx Limited  44048
DMU IT Consulting Limited  44055
EPDS Consultants Limited  44048
Grid Solutions Power Electronic Systems Limited  44043
H5 Enterprises Ltd  44046
Heathfield Reels Limited  44048
HO Media Solutions Limited  44055
Kevin Masters Creative Limited  44042
Lansdowne Freight Limited  44046
Lincolnshire Media Limited  44068
MG Office Lets Limited  44046
Macdonald’s (West Derby) Garage Limited  44046
Mchr Consulting Limited  44046
Monberg & Thorsen (UK) Limited  44048
Nathaniel Lloyd & Co. Limited  44048
Peter Page & Associates Limited  44046
Pharmchem International Limited  44046
Partner For Growth Limited  44048
Peter Taylor Consulting (Hertfordshire) Limited  44048
Price Waterhouse MCS UK Holding Company  44055
PricewaterhouseCoopers (Resources) Limited  44055
PwC Performance Solutions (No.2) Limited  44055
PwC Performance Solutions (No.3) Limited  44055
Progressive Quilting Co. Limited  44048
Putney Beach Limited  44046
S&V Limited  44046
Shell Thailand Manufacturing Limited  44054
Smartspike Solutions Ltd  44046
Sonoco Europe Limited  44048
Striking Lion Design Limited  44067
TPT Board Mills Limited  44048
Unit Reels and Drums Limited  44048
Web Planning Limited  44042
Wildsmith Communications Limited  44060
Yateley Country Park Limited  44046

Petitions to Wind Up
Amik Property International Ltd  44043
County Farm Asssit Limited  44048
Pro-Fit Building Services Limited  44043
MHD Builders Limited  44060
Sage Media National Limited  44067
Wadsworth Care Homes Limited  44043

Winding up orders
Absolute Construction (Norfolk) Limited  44068
Belgravia Construction (London) Limited  44042
TMAK Construction Limited  44060
Trust Media Limited  44048

ICSM CREDIT

For information on ICSM visit www.icsmcredit.com or call 0844 854 1850.
ICSM, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR. Tel: 0844 854 1850. www.icsmcredit.comIan.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

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As retailers Anne Summers and Moss Bros join the growing movement seeking CVAs there’s a new turn-off for the High Street: unclear social distancing signs

Companies in trouble are seeing the CVA (Company Voluntary Agreement) as the the go-to saviour from insolvency in these troubled times. Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said: “The reasons are simple – by getting agreement from 75% of a firm’s creditors it is possible to delay the repayment of debts by restructuring them. If the creditors agree, limited company can continue trading. And the reality is with so many firms in trouble their creditors have little choice but to agree. The catch is that a CVA may give a firm some breathing space but it they don’t change their business model then liquidation will happen eventually and creditors will lose out. My message is be very careful not to grant more credit to firms seeking a CVA.”

Off putting no-show signage

Writing in the signage industry’s leading trade magazine Sign Link, Rob Fletcher has highlighted a phenomenon that would have been unheard of a year ago.

He said: “More than 40% of UK shoppers have stopped visiting stores that have unclear signage on novel coronavirus (Covid-19) social distancing, according to a new study by Roland DG.”

Roland DG make wide format printers that are used to print textiles, synthetic fabrics and other large signs.

The journalist said the European survey of over 2,500 people found 80% of consumers feel safer in stores that have clear social distancing signage – such as printed floor stickers – with 78% more likely to shop in stress with proper instructions on social distancing measures.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said that shopping had been made an unpleasant chore since the Covid-19 crisis and although many retailers had tried their best to improve things simple innovations like signs make a big difference.

He said: “A long queue outside a shop is a turn off but confusion over which way you can go once inside doesn’t help. Shops with clear signage will do better as this survey shows.”

Rob Fletcher said: “Some 40% of shoppers say that businesses are not taking their safety seriously enough, with 75% of consumers saying they are more aware of in-store signage than before the Covid-19 pandemic. Other key findings include that clothes shops in the UK were most likely to not have the correct social distancing signage in place, with 21% of respondents setting out their fears. Supermarkets were also a cause for concern as 19% of shoppers say the right signage is not in place, while 16% were also apprehensive about restaurants and bars.”

Speaking of restaurants Business Sale have reported that the Burrito chain Chilango has been acquired out of administration by investment group RD Capital Partners. The acquisition by RD Capital Partners, for an undisclosed sum, followed a competitive sales process and will see 10 of the chain’s 11 restaurants remain open.

Lingerie retailer’s CVA plans

The Retail Gazette has reported that the lingerie and sex toy retailer Ann Summers is considering a CVA in order to save it from collapse following the shut-down. The reporter Sahar Nazir noted that the retailer’s chief executive Jacqueline Gold said the company might opt for a CVA as some landlords refused to work in partnership, despite the owning family injecting cash to keep the business afloat.

The journalist said: “Losses increased £3 million to £16 million in its most recently reported year, and Gold expects business rates and property costs to increase next year. Ann Summers is currently dealing with the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic despite the improvement of personnel, IT investment and product. Gold said some of the retailer’s landlords have taken a “pragmatic” approach, while others have not and Ann Summers is understood to be preparing to unveil CVA proposals in the next week. She added that landlords have continued to ‘bury their heads in the sand’ and the only way a retailer is able to resolve the situation is to undertake a CVA.”

Moss Bros in trouble

It may only be the first of September but the CVAs keep coming. This time it is that key figure in the menswear wedding high world: Moss Bros. Fashion United’s Huw Hughes writes: “The brand has called in advisory firm KPMG to work on a potential CVA which could lead to store closures and rent cuts, The Times reports. It comes after talks between the brand and its landlords failed to reach an agreement to turn some of its store estate over to turnaround-based rent.

“Moss Bros currently has 125 UK stores and around 1,000 employees. It comes as the formalwear category continues to be significantly impacted by Covid-19, with the cancellation of large events such as weddings and the Royal Ascot dealing significant blows to sales.

“In March, prior to the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK, Crew Clothing-owner Brigadier Acquisition Company Limited agreed to acquire Moss Bros in a 22.6 million pound deal. However, just weeks after the deal was announced, Brigadier seeked a ruling from the Takeover Panel to cancel its offer. Moss Bros successfully opposed the decision, citing a rule in the Takeover Code that states an offer cannot be lapsed or withdrawn.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Pic: FT

Creditors beware: newspaper industry in freefall during Covid-19 as sales plunge 39% as publisher Archant seeks to dump their pension fund and leave shareholders with nothing

The Guardian has reported that The Financial Times and the i newspaper saw declines in circulation of 39% and 38%, respectively. They said: “The decline of circulation of the i was exacerbated by the cessation of the distribution of bulks, free copies, to locations including airports, gyms and railway stations.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said Covid-19 have brought forward the demise of several industries and speeded up social changes due to the lock-down. “Newspapers and magazines have seen a steady declines for years due to two factors,” he said. “The flight of advertising to the internet and the rise in the use of mobile phones, tablets and laptops to read long form articles and news stories. Now with Covid-19 it’s worse as it’s difficult to pop to the local shop without having to queue and put on a mask.”

He cautioned suppliers of paper, ink, computer technology and printing presses to the industry after Archant became the latest publisher to get into financial trouble. In 2018 one of the UK’s biggest newspaper publishers Johnston Press went into administration and was bought in a pre-pack by JPI Media dumping large amounts of debt. Daily and weekly titles like the The Oldham Evening Chronicle published by collapsed Hirst, Kidd and Rennie publishers which closed in 2017, while since then more 100 newspaper titles have gone.

Archant clings to CVA hope

The newspaper industry’s trade publication Press Gazette has reported that the UK’s fourth biggest local newspaper publisher Archant has been bought out by a private equity firm in a deal which leaves shareholders with nothing. However the proposed CVA (Company Voluntary Arrangement) has to be agreed negotiated with the help of KPMG has to be agreed with creditors who look set to get little or nothing.

Under the deal reported the Press Gazette Rcapital Partners will take a 90% stake in the company, which publishes the The New European and the Eastern Daily Press as well as a number of local weekly news titles and monthly magazines.

Pension scheme issue

The Press Gazette reported: “The company’s pension scheme, which is believed to have deficit of around £50m, will be taken over by the government’s Pension Protection Fund. The pension fund shortfall had been costing the company £3m a year. The deal is an alternative to liquidating the company, which means creditors will get more of their money back and the new owners may have more room to invest.”

Chief executive Simon Bax broke the news to staff in an email in which he said, “the impact of the downturn on our advertising and circulation revenues due to Covid-19 has been profound”. He said the new owners would invest in the business and provide a “sustainable financial platform upon which the company can continue its transformation”.

Carrotte: ‘it’s wishful thinking’

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said that was all wishful thinking as the business model for many local newspapers was broken and he foresaw more financial problems for the print based titles such as the Norwich Evening News. As a result of the deal, two of Archant’s holding companies – Archant Ltd and Archant Community Media Holdings Limited – will be placed into administration. Archant Community Media Limited, under which it employs its staff, will continue to trade. Shareholders in Archant Ltd will lose out, however, including employees who held shares in the company.

Archant was founded in 1845 in Norwich, where it is still headquartered, as the Norfolk News. The Colman family, who produce the region’s famous mustard, are among its shareholders, with Jeremiah Colman having been one of its founders. The group’s private pension fund will retain the final 10% stake in the business. Archant needs to secure at least 75% creditor approval by value for the CVA for it to proceed. Talks are already underway with key creditors through KPMG.

The Press Gazzete said Archant made a pre-tax loss of £7.6m in 2018 on group revenue of £87.3m, which was down 9.6% on the year before. The group still relies on print for 78% of its total revenues, although advertising, which makes made up the bulk of its income, fell by 10.8% to £64.2m and newspaper circulation fell by 6.6% to £16.4m in 2018.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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How times change: Debenhams could hire fashion models Eva Herzigova, Yasmin Le Bon and Helena Christensen to front their sales in recent years. Now they are struggling to survive

Debenhams’ parent firm enters administration as uncertainty continues; STA Travel collapses; sushi chain’s CVA, and a shopping centre goes bust

The demise of the once mighty department store chain Debenhams took another agonising turn for the worse as their parent company has entered administration. The Times reported that owners Celine Group Holdings have hired Philip Watkins and Philip Armstrong from FRP Advisory as advisers. And perhaps more to the point the move means the firm does not have to pay overdue interest payments on £200 million of bonds due July 15.

Light touch administration

The 242-year-old firm has closed 16 of its 140 stores is currently under a so-called ‘light touch’ administration with managers still in control. ICSM Credit reported this month how the department store had called in advisers to prepare for a sale, restructure or liquidation.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said a company like Debenhams will have a huge number of creditors considering the scope of their operation. “The warning signs are there for suppliers,” he said, “it would be a mistake to grant credit to a company that is openly admitting it may go bust.”

Coronavirus forces STA Travel out of business

Business Sale Report said: “STA Travel has become the latest travel firm to fall victim to the Covid-19 pandemic. The company, which grew out of a student travel business and specialised in trips for young people, including gap years and volunteer projects, has ceased trading.”

STA Travel has more than 50 shops in the UK with around 500 workers whose jobs are now at risk.

The firm’s parent company, based in Switzerland, said the pandemic had ‘brought the travel industry to a standstill’ said Business Sale Report.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) said: “STA Travel will be a name that is familiar to most people who will have used them to travel or been aware of their name on the High Street, and this distressing news will sadly affect the livelihoods of hundreds of employees.”

Shopping centre goes bust

Retail Research have reported that the Grosvenor Shopping Centre in Chester went into receivership along with its car park earlier in July 2020. It was originally built in the 1960s and refurbished in the 80s. There are 101 retail units, all on one level. The shopping centre continues trading. 

Wasabi seeks CVA

Company Rescue have reported that the grab-and-go sushi and bento chain, Wasabi, is the latest casual dining chain to launch a Company Voluntary Arrangement among the coronavirus pandemic.

They reported: “A CVA has been launched to drive the chain through a difficult period and to safeguard its future. Wasabi has 51 sites across the UK – 41 of which are in the capital. The slow return of office workers, low levels of tourism and the social distancing measures in place mean the future for the chain looks uncertain. If the proposal gets approved by creditors, the group expects to leave a small number of leases and negotiate rent with landlords on some of its sites. Job losses are to be kept to a minimum. Will Wright and David Costley-Wood of KPMG, are the proposed nominees of the CVA.”

Henry Birts, CEO, said: “Prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, Wasabi had been performing strongly on the back of the investment and operational improvements we had made during 2019. However, the extraordinary impact of COVID-19 on trading has meant that we now need to take additional steps to address our fixed cost-base if we are to secure the long-term future of our business. In recent weeks, we have had constructive engagement with landlords regarding better alignment of the rents of certain sites in proportion with footfall and trading, and we will continue to work closely with them over the days ahead. We strongly believe that this turnaround programme will provide us with a stable platform upon which we can emerge from this difficult period as a healthy and sustainable business, for our staff, suppliers and loyal customers.’’

Wasabi was founded in 2003. It has 1,500 staff across its 51 UK restaurants. It also runs two sites under the Kimchee brand and five restaurants in America – these not to be affected by the CVA.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Rookery Bridal have moved to the Stables Business Park

There’s a touch of glamour at The Stables Business Park at Rooksbridge in Somerset with the arrival this month of Rookery Bridal’s new offices at The Mill House on the park.

Sarah Hackett, the owner of Rookery Bridal, has many years of experience in the wedding industry explained why she had moved from Rookery Manor Hotel to the park.

“I wanted the business to be independent: I purchased Rookery Bridal last year from Rookery Manor Hotel and I wanted it to be physically independent as well,” she said, “The Stables Business Park provides us with a much more accessible location, extra space and storage.”

Sarah Hackett, the owner of Rookery Bridal

Despite the problems of the Covid-19 crisis, business at the park has remained strong with most firms back to normal. Tom and Sally Dalley who own and run the park said they were pleased that Rookery Bridal had relocated their offices to Rooksbridge as they were a local company with a local name and added to the diverse range of businesses that operate from the address.

Sarah said the new unit benefited from extra space for storage. She said: “We have over 70 wedding gowns and we also have an extensive selection of veils, belts, tiaras, shoes, hair vines – space is very important to us as brides need to feel comfortable when they are choosing their gown and accessories.”

Lin Ogden, Boutique Sales Manager

The business is in The Mill House on the park and is primarily offices and storage but brides-to-be can make an appointment to visit. Lin Ogden, Boutique Sales Manager, (who has also been in the bridal business for 20 years) said they love the process of the bride choosing a dress and accessories. Lin said: “Visitors can park outside and choose from so many styles. There’s no hard sell or pressure, just a chance to indulge in an Aladdin’s cave of bridal beauty.”

The Stables Business Park is two miles from Junction of the M5. Take the A38 heading north towards Bristol Airport and you will find it on the right just after the bridge over the motorway.

There is a short video about the move to the park by Rookery Bridal at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zuXijrFE76Y

Rookery Bridal is located in The Mill House, at The Stables Business Park, Rooksbridge, Somerset, UK, BS26 2TT. Telephone 01934 751111. Web: https://rookerybridal.co.uk/

For details call The Stables Business Park on 07968 910 761, or email us from our website at www.stablesbusinesspark.com where you will find much more information, testimonials and news.

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First it was Brexit, then Covid-19 and the lock down – now warns ICSM Credit it’s the banning of Huawei that next threatens the creditors of a raft of businesses

When the culture secretary Oliver Dowden MP announced the Government’s decision to strip the Chinese firm Huawei this week of its role in 5G he may unwittingly have begun an economic revolution.

Communist state

“Any firms in hock to Huawei may find suppliers reluctant to grant more credit as the value of that UK business collapses following the Government’s U-turn on allowing them access,” said Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit. “Furthermore I can detect an appetite amongst those in Government to now look at other Chinese mega investments such as Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset, Sizewell B power station, South West Trains and even the North Sea Oil industry. All have massive percentages of Chinese money in them and many MPs are concerned we’ve allowed a totalitarian Communist state to have a big stake in our infrastructure.”

He said he would not enter into the rights and wrongs of allowing the investment triggered by more than a decade of Sino-Anglo trade but if there is now a pull out of cash it would be SMEs and small businesses that would suffer. Although the slack would be picked up by non-Chinese firms in the long run he said.

Jobs and £7bn hit

Apart from around 1,500 jobs in the UK directly affected by a Huawei pull out the hit to the economy could be just under £7bn according to joint research within the industry while Dowden said the mobile phone industry itself would take a £2bn hit. ICSM Credit understands BT and Vodaphone who have been working with Huawei to install 5G will not be paid compensation.

Glee and Tik Tok

The potential for a further roll back of Chinese investments are clear with a 33.4% stake in Hinkley Point, a 20% share in Sizewell B, 30% share in SW Trains and Crossrail, 10% in Heathrow Airport, 9% in Thames Water, 25% in North Sea Oil production and major investments in Geely and Lotus – as well as the purchase of British Steel for £50m by the Chinese firm Jingye last year. And finally, there is Tik Tok – linked to the TV show Glee by Kesha’s popular song – the social media app beloved by millions and already banned in India.

The decision to drop Huawei by the Government is due to a variety of reasons reversing their earlier policy of allowing some infrastructure to take place in partnership with the likes of BT. America is strongly opposed to Huawei believing it is wrong to allow a Communist state to have a big stake in infrastructure in a democracy, then there is the USA’s trade war, anger over how China failed to alert the world quickly enough over the spread of Covis-19 and finally the way their Government has erased freedom of speech and protest in Hong Kong betraying the agreement with the UK Government.

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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Pic: Morpeth Herald

News Bites: masks in shops ‘impossible to enforce’; no-show customers slammed; mass redundancies as print industry wobbles; china shops collapse; builder owed £11m; and directors get breathing space from creditors

As one of the nation’s leading credit intelligence circles ICSM Credit likes to bring you the latest news, views and analysis in the world of creditors, bad debts and companies in trouble. There’s only one motivation behind our news and that is to save our members from being caught out when one of their clients goes bust.

Muddle over masks

Ian Carrotte said: “There has been much muddle and confusion for industry as business emerges from shut-down. A v-shaped recovery looks unlikely as so many jobs are going and a lot of firms are going bust. The face-mask and PPE industries are seeing a boom so there’s a small silver lining there – but what we need is business and social life to return to normal in August or it will be a tough old recession this winter.”

Masks must be worn by adults in shops from July 24 according to the latest Government announcement with £100 fines for non-wearers. The news has not gone down well with the retailers and police as Michael Gove MP implied mask wearing would be voluntary when questioned by the BBC on Sunday. Chief executive of the British Retail Consortium Helen Dickinson said the plan left more questions as she felt it should not be up to shop workers to enforce reluctant shoppers to cover up. The police are also unhappy. Ken Marsh, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation said it would be impossible to patrol every shop and enforce the new law.

Ian Carrotte said he feared this was a backward step as the death rate from Covid 19 was getting lower, and the idea masks must be worn in shops but not in pubs was ‘difficult to equate.’ He added masks made sense in March but with August days away questions will be asked about ‘the delay in implementation.’

No-show customers

ICSM Credit took interest in the celebrity chef Tom Kerridge story this week when the restauranteur complained publicly of no-show customers. Namely people who booked a table and then failed to show up – despite the overwhelming demand following the lifting of restrictions post Covid-19. He said that 27 people booked and failed to turn up at his restaurant at the Corinthia Hotel in London making the evening a disaster financially – just when the place needed to start making a profit. Kerridge’s experience is not alone as many restaurants have had the same problem with people sending an email booking and then changing their mind. Perhaps the only answer is to make a booking only valid with a deposit.

Ian Carrotte said the problem was not unique to the dining out industry as printers, couriers, builders, hoteliers and a host of other businesses are frequently contacted with so-called definite orders and bookings – which then fail to turn up. He said: “It’s down to people not thinking and being selfish. Sales people will often come away from a meeting having thought they have a big order only to find it cancelled a day later when the potential customer has used their specifications to source it cheaper elsewhere.”

New world order for print industry

Jo Francis in Print Week has written a timely piece on the new world order for the print industry which seems to be all about redundancies or calling it a day and shutting up shop. She writes about Dundee-based Tradeprint who are cutting 30% of its 164-strong and Portsmouth’s Bishops Printers who are also making the same number of staff redundant. Francis quotes Bishops Printers CEO Gareth Roberts as saying: “Our ‘event driven print’ has naturally been severely depressed and although we are starting to see recovery – with volumes rising towards 50% of norm in July – we do not see a ‘V shaped’ return to normal trading. It was therefore evident in early May that we would need to restructure throughout all parts of the business to remain viable.  Sadly, this has meant approaching 30% of our 270 strong workforce being made redundant since we simply don’t believe we can carry the additional staff without the work we normally expect for the remainder of the calendar year.”

Summer cover for directors

Website Business Sale reports on the plight of directors of insolvent firms who have been given a bit of breathing space this summer. Under the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act that came in last month the temporary protection from wrongful trading given to firms was extended to the end of September from the end of June. They reported: Although the threat of personal liability has been significantly reduced, company directors must remain attentive to other considerations relating to the continued trading of their businesses as they are still bound by directors’ duties as set out in company law.”

It means that firms that were technically insolvent during the Covid-19 shut down can continue to trade during the summer without fear of the directors being personally liable for any debts. Normally it is illegal to trade while insolvent but the idea is firms will spring back into life and quickly make up the lost ground in August.

Construction firm owed £11m

The Business Sale website reports on the Lancashire-based contractor Construction Partnership UK who owed close to £11 million to creditors when it collapsed in April, according to a new report from administrators Duff & Phelps. The website reported: “The company’s administration was blamed on the impact of coronavirus and “contractual issues” following the loss of several contracts.This included The Rise, a £23.4 million mixed-use development in Liverpool, that led to £3 million in bad debt. The contract was due to be the firm’s biggest ever job but work stopped last year when developer Primesite Development ran into funding issues. When work halted, Construction Partnership UK had completed work worth £7 million.”

The administrators Duff & Phelps said the firm was hit by ‘a combination of late and missed payments, overrun on projects and increasing materials costs.’ They reported that the 94 staff were made redundant after being furloughed in March and former employees were unlikely to be paid.

China shops collapse

The Yorkshire Post has reported on the demise of the giftware and china retailer Peter Jones of Wakefield whose ten shops have closed. Despite furloughing staff the 70 employees will be made redundant and the 50 year old business liquidated.

The newspaper said: “It enters insolvency after a period of weak trading followed by significant cash flow pressure related to the COVID-19 lockdown. The retailer, which has stores in Barnsley, Doncaster, Batley, Huddersfield, Castleford, Pontefract, Wakefield and Wetherby, has been closed for business since lockdown with its 70 employees on furlough.”

Ian Carrotte of ICSM Credit said a pattern was emerging of firms locking down and furloughing their staff while the directors ‘get their ducks in a row’ and take the firm into administration with a view to sale or liquidation. He said: “We’re seeing a lot of this activity and it is something we predicted before the lockdown. A lot of zombie companies who were barely solvent and struggling before Covid-19 have faced the reality and are pulling the plug. That is why all suppliers must be careful of accepting orders from firms in that situation as they probably won’t get paid.”

About ICSM Credit

ICSM Credit has more than four decades of experience as a credit intelligence group whose members gain inside information about firms in trouble allowing them to avoid bad debts and rogue traders. To join costs less than a tank of fuel – while at the moment there’s a special free temporary membership offer during the Covid-19 crisis which gives access to free legal letters. ICSM also has an effective debt collecting service which has a global reach – ask for details from Paul.

For details about ICSM Credit call 0844 854 1850 or visit the website www.icsmcredit.com or email Ian at Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com on how to subscribe and to join the UK’s credit intelligence network to avoid bad debts and late payers. Follow ICSM Credit on FaceBook, Twitter and YouTube and Ian Carrotte on LinkedIn.

To keep up to date subscribe to the FREE ICSM Credit Newsletter to hear all the latest insolvency news and to see who has gone out of business click on the orange panel on the top left of the home page of the website www.icsmcredit.com or send an email to Ian.carrotte@icsmcredit.com

For details for the work of the journalist Harry Mottram visit www.harrymottram.co.uk

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AGENDA WEST Business News COMMENT: time for ‘dithering’ Lord Callanan to pull his finger out and sort out the scandal of the big four’s role in playing referee and footballer in a game where SMEs and the public lose out

I don’t always agree with the outspoken Alex Brummer in the Daily Mail but on the scandal of the big four accountancy firms auditing companies while at the same time recommending remunerations for the directors – he is bang on.

In his ‘litany of failures and scandals it’s time for auditors to face a reckoning’ piece he rightly points the finger at not just PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG but also at the dithering Lord Callanan. The unelected member of the House of Lords Martin John Callanan, Baron Callanan is the  Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and has the power to implement one of the reports on the big four accountants.

Failures over Conviviality

The reason why he needs to act is because there have been a series of complete failures by the big four accountants in auditing the accounts of firms such as Conviviality, Patisserie Valerie and Thomas Cook exposing the conflict between auditing and work such as processing bonus payments to failed directors.

Installed on St Valentine’s day this year as the man with the powers to reform the activities of PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG Callanan has so far shown no appetite to take on the powerful vested interests who have by their actions thrown thousands out of work and brought destruction to many SMEs. Six years ago John Kingman’s report said the Financial Reporting Council should be replaced by a tougher body with stronger powers to take PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG to task. He proposed the obviously sensible plan to separate the audit and consulting arms at the big four auditors. And more recently Donald Brydon’s review recommended the same thing. Essentially the referee could no longer be the footballer as well, waving away penalty claims or requests for a free kick.

BooHoo and Wisecard

But since then despite the ongoing issues over BooHoo, Wirecard and umpteen other questionable actions of accountants and their clients nothing has happened.

Brummer noted: “It is hard to bring discipline to boardroom pay when the same firm that does the audit is also charged with setting remuneration. In a statement of the obvious, the minister notes that the three audit reviews are ‘interlinked’ reforms being developed and that not all require legislation.  Amid excuses about pressure of parliamentary business, no timetable is given. The flaccid approach smacks of heavy lobbying by powerful accounting firms.”

Carillion cost billions

If only the dithering Lord Callanan listened to the voices of small and medium businesses, the chambers of commerce and the self-employed lobbyists instead of the big four we might have a reform of the system that’s cost the nation billions of pounds. Many firms have gone to the wall over the likes of Carillion collapsing, the public have lost out big time when companies like Thomas Cook go under and the tax payer has to pick up the tab for redundancies. It really is time for action.

Harry Mottram