By Harry Mottram: The business credit intelligence group ICSM has heard numerous accounts from its members that there’s a pattern of firms who took thousands of pounds in Covid support cash to then go bust when repayment is due.

Whether the practice is deliberate or accidental or just the way things happen in post-Covid Britain is a matter of debate. The media have reported story that casts light on the subject which involves the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s wife Akshata Murty and her connection to a defunct furniture company.

An eye-watering £4.3 billion of Covid loans have been written-off due to fraud by the Government from the £73.8 billion dished out at the height of the Covid Crisis. Bounce back loans were up to £50,000, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILS) were available up to £5 million pounds a go for smaller firms with larger companies allowed to apply for up to £200 million, and finally Future Funds offered loans to companies in a variety of schemes.

Akshata Murty invested in The New Craftsmen furniture firm which went bust last year owing hundreds of thousands of pounds including the taxman around a quarter of a million pounds and a long list of creditors who were owed £75,437, and trade and consumer creditors who were due more than £412,000 according to reports in the media. The issue being The New Craftsmen furniture firm received a £300,000 taxpayer-funded loan when her husband Rishi Sunak was the Chancellor of the Exchequer and in charge of dishing out the cash.

Ian Carrotte has appealed to members of ICSM and the wider business community to contact him in confidence with any news of firms who have taken the Covid cash and then pulled the plug and walked away without having to pay it back. ICSM has seen a rise in phoenix companies – firms that close one day and having ensured their stories stack up reappear a few days afterwards with a near identical business often with the assets of the original company.

Doing a phoenix or going bust having taken any of the Covid grants or loans are of course not illegal but ICSM amongst many in British industry feels legislation needs to be tightened up. Because at the end of the day billions of pounds of tax payers money has been lost and a long list of creditors have not been paid.


For information on ICSM visit or call 0844 854 1850.
ICSM, The Exchange, Express Park, Bristol Road, Bridgwater, Somerset TA6 4RR. Tel: 0844 854 1850.