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September 2021

After an unexpected decline in the number of company insolvencies in the UK in July, the August total rose to levels not seen since before the pandemic according to the latest official monthly company insolvency statistics released by The Insolvency Service

For England and Wales alone, the total number of corporate insolvencies for August 2021 was 1,348 - this was up 251 from the 1,097 recorded in July and is 71% higher than the 788 insolvencies recorded in August a year ago. 

The total is also broadly similar to the pre-pandemic total of 1,366 from August 2019 and represents the fourth consecutive month both of insolvencies numbering over 1000 and being higher than the same month a year previously.   

Of these 1,348 company insolvencies, the vast majority were Creditors Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs) making up 1,256 of the total amount. 

Additionally, there were 35 compulsory liquidations; 55 administrations; 2 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) and zero receivership appointments. 

Breaking these down further we see:

There were 89 company insolvencies in Scotland last month, up from 72 in July. This was also nearly double the number from a year ago and was 13% higher than in August 2019. 

This comprised 11 compulsory liquidations, 76 creditor voluntary liquidations and two administrations. There were no CVAs or receivership appointments recorded. 

From a historical perspective, compulsory liquidations have been the most common type of insolvency recorded in Scotland but since April 2020 there have been more than twice as many CVLs as compulsory liquidations. This has now been the situation for 15 out of the previous 16 months. 

In Northern Ireland there were 9 company insolvencies registered which although five less than in July it was more than double the number from a year ago although 59% lower than August 2019. 

This was made up of eight CVLs and one compulsory liquidation. 

The overall total of UK company insolvencies for August 2021 is 1,446, which is up 266 from last month.


Colin Haig, President of R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body said: “The insolvency figures published today highlight how much tougher the climate is for businesses and individuals than this time last year, and the toll the pandemic has taken on business and personal finances over the last 12 months.

“The increase in corporate insolvencies was driven by a rise in Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs). 

“Numbers for this process were 115% higher than this time last year, and 30% higher than in 2019, which suggests that despite the opening up of the economy, there are a number of company directors who are opting to close their businesses after a year and a half of trading in a pandemic. 

“This comes despite the fact that August was one of the better months for businesses since the start of the pandemic. The lifting of the final restrictions and continued impact of the vaccine rollout means that more people are working, shopping and spending and that looks set to continue as we enter the autumn.

“However, with the furlough scheme closing at the end of this month, company directors need to be aware of the signs of business distress and seek advice if any of them appear. 

“If a firm is having problems paying rent, staff or suppliers, has issues with cash flow, or its directors are concerned about its future, now is the time to seek advice from a qualified professional, rather than waiting until the problem has become worse.”


The numbers couldn’t be any clearer. 

For the fourth month in a row, company insolvencies are higher than they were a year ago and now are nearly back to where they were before the pandemic began. 

This is before the furlough scheme finally winds up at the end of September and winding up petitions can begin for businesses that owe creditors over £10,000 - under this amount continues to be suspended until the end of March 2022. 

As HMRC begins to increase their clawback of outstanding debts including overdue bounce back loans and VAT arrears, the next few months look increasingly tough for businesses already struggling with their finances. 

If there’s a time to look for help and get expert advice on what options are available then it’s now. 

Any business owner or director taking advantage of our free initial consultation might be surprised at how much room to maneuver they actually have, but until they get in touch and let us know their situation - they won’t know for sure.

What we know for sure is that the longer businesses leave it, the less opportunity they will have to act when they really need to.  

End of the line

There are still local spikes here and there all over the UK and as we enter the traditional winter flu season, there might be temporary measures deployed if coronavirus cases rise sufficiently.

The government has also declined to implement planned vaccination passports for people attending large events in England so individuals and businesses could now begin to plan their Autumn activities with more certainty. 

Against this backdrop it’s been confirmed that the various remaining pandemic support measures including the coronavirus job retention scheme or furlough will definitely end on September 30th along with a lifting of the ban on winding up petitions.

While it was expected that creditors would be able to seek winding up petitions once again, there’s been a sizable catch - so that now bringing a winding up petition is literally a £10,000 question. 

New legislation to be introduced in parliament shortly will:

These measures will remain in place until March 31 2022.

Business Minister Lord Callanan said: “The time is right to lift the insolvency restrictions that were needed during the pandemic. 

“At the same time, we know many smaller businesses are rebuilding their balance sheets and reserves, and some will need more time to get back on their feet. These new measures and protections will help them to do that.”

The minister said that businesses should pay their contractual rents where they’re able to do so and also confirmed that existing restrictions will remain in place on commercial landlords from pursuing winding up petitions against limited companies to repay commercial rent arrears built up during the pandemic.

Additionally commercial tenants will continue to be protected from eviction until March 31 2022 while a rent arbitration scheme to deal with commercial rent debts accrued during the pandemic is implemented.

One measure not time bound by restrictions are new legal powers given to the Insolvency Service which allow them to retrospectively investigate the conduct of directors of dissolved companies. 

If they can prove that directors were dishonest or culpable in behaviour which led to their company’s failure then as well as being made personally liable for any debts incurred, they can be disqualified from acting as a director for up to 15 years. 

This includes bounce back loans so obtaining professional advice is critical if you’re thinking of closing your business.

Chris Horner, Insolvency Director with BusinessRescueExpert.co.uk said: “The new £10,000 threshold for winding up petitions sounds like a big increase from the previous minimum level of £750.

"But in reality, due to the associated expense in issuing winding-up petitions, the vast majority of pre-COVID winding-up petitions were over the new level in any event.

“Eager creditors will examine their options carefully and look to use whatever leverage they have.

“Hopefully, many companies use the new 21 day period to negotiate sensible repayment plans. Seek expert help if in doubt about how best to approach this.

“Like the insolvency moratorium that’s automatically granted if a company goes into administration, this provides valuable breathing space and time for a business to come up with plans to deal with problematic debt.

“This includes outstanding bounce back loans or VAT arrears - they haven’t been suspended - and a business can still close down, even if a company has these debts but only if it’s done using the right method overseen by an insolvency professional.

“For example, If a business with unsustainable debt wanted to close and started the process in the next couple of weeks - it could probably be concluded before Christmas, leaving the directors or owners free to begin a new venture or career in 2022.”


Why you should pay to liquidate your business


Time is only an asset if it’s used effectively. 

The 21-day negotiation period of winding up petition restrictions and £10,000 floor is only useful if you take advantage and get professional advice now because it will, like all the others, cease eventually. 

We offer a free initial consultation to any business owner or director who wants to know the best way to close their company or if possible, restructure and keep it alive, even if it has debts.

Once we get a better understanding of the situation, we can come up with a tailored solution possibly with more options and choices than you thought you had. 

But this is only possible if you use your agency and get in touch.

wet summer

Technically it’s supposed to be the summer holiday season but we’ve seen precious little of that. 

The main headlines this month see a few well-known firms in the construction industry entering administration while others look to close efficiently through liquidation.


How bounce back loan repayments can affect sole traders and partnerships too 


KEO Films pre pack deal
The TV production company KEO films co-founded by presenter and chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been bought out in a pre pack administration deal by Passion Pictures after declaring itself insolvent. 
KEO films produced popular and award-winning shows such as “Hugh’s War on Waste '' and “Easy Ways to Live Well” and described itself as having a strong ethical brand reputation. It’s latest acclaimed documentary series to screen was “Once Upon a Time in Iraq” broadcast by the BBC. 
The directors declared they were unable to put enough money into the business to maintain it as a going concern with the impact of the coronavirus proving terminal. 
The deal has secured 20 jobs in the business and the new owners are voluntarily looking to repay as much of the debts KEO films owed to creditors before it went into administration. 
Will Anderson of KEO Films said: “We are trying to do the right thing in a difficult situation and are trying to come to arrangements with people where we can.”
While not all of the old company’s debts could be repaid, the new owners have made offers to repay the majority of freelance employees in full.
Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall stepped down as a director once the deal had been completed but continued to make programmes with the company under the new ownership.

Formaplex pre pack administration
Formaplex - a major manufacturer with four sites in Hampshire - which supplied lightweight plastic components to the automotive, motorsport, aerospace, medical and defence markets was bought out by new owners this month in a pre-pack administration
The 20-year-old business was rebranded as Formaplex Technologies by its new owners and 110 posts were lost during the process.
A spokesperson for the ownership group said: “While positive progress had been made, to secure the long-term future of Formaplex, the business needed to take further steps to strengthen its balance sheet.
“As a result, Formaplex Ltd was placed into administration and we agreed to purchase the business and assets of the company from the administrators on the same day through a procedure known as a pre-pack administration. 
“There has been a seamless transition of customers and employees to a new business, Formaplex Technologies. We have secured the support of all the major customers and an experienced new CEO has been appointed.”

Minster construction closes
Mansfield-based Minster Building Company went into administration with 26 staff losing their jobs. 
First formed in 2007, Minster specialised in constructing supported living facilities for vulnerable citizens but due to delays in planning and construction processes due to the pandemic combined with price increases in building materials meant that most of their current projects became significantly loss-making. 
All work ceased on their various work sites from the East Midlands to the North East.
A spokesperson said: “It’s a great shame that a long-established construction business has been laid low by the knock on effects of the Coronavirus crisis. 
“Not only have jobs been lost and suppliers left nursing substantial losses, but the vulnerable people who would have been housed in the properties being built by the Company will suffer as a result of the inevitable delays in completing these projects.
“The UK construction sector is facing acute difficulties as a result of the pandemic and the severe disruption it has caused to its operational processes, supply chains and labour resources. Sadly, Minster will not be the last failure in this vital industry.”

Garrandale
Garrandale, an engineering company based in Derby, has gone into administration
The 45-year-old business began designing equipment to help streamline manufacturing in the automotive, healthcare, oil and gas sectors. In the 1980s they began manufacturing production equipment for railway carriages and continued progress working with companies such as AEA Technology and Bombardier working on a system that prevented train wheels from slipping.  
The company’s expertise was also sought to help build the Hadron Collider and work on the Ariane space rocket used by the European Space Agency but has now officially gone into administration with the loss of approx. 70 positions. 

AM Griffiths
AMG or AM Griffiths based in Wolverhampton appointed administrators earlier this month. 
The business, founded in 1899 by Arthur M Griffiths, was profitable as recently as 2020 and worked on many private and public sector projects including building many schools and hospitals and was responsible for many major landmark buildings across the Black Country.
The company was unable to secure additional work and has ceased trading altogether with the loss of 60 permanent positions.  

Six Day Series
Madison Sports Group, which staged the popular Six Day cycling series in London, Manchester and locations abroad went into administration as Covid-19 forced the cancellation of all their planned live events. 
A spokesperson said: “Madison Sports Group and Six Day are prime examples of companies with solid business models whose difficulties have been greatly exacerbated by the fallout from Covid-19. 
“With the majority of sports events closing down completely over the past year and a half, both companies' revenue generating capabilities have decreased markedly.
"Following the financial year-end and as a result of Covid-19 events have had to be postponed due to the health concerns of athletes, staff and guests and it is not possible to quantify the impact on the business, creating a material uncertainty over its future prospects.” 
Six Day launched in London in 2015 with cycling stars such as Sir Chris Hoy and Mark Cavendish and has taken the format to other major cities with other stars but the enforced halt of all activities was too much for the business to survive. 

Simtom Foods
The Indian sauces manufacturer first founded in Leicester in 1977 has gone into administration with the loss of almost 100 jobs. 
The business produced a range of traditional Indian foods for both supermarkets and the foodservice industry and while they had invested heavily in recent years, growing their operations, the loss of business caused by the Coronavirus pandemic and recent labour shortages placed significant pressure on the company leading to the appointment of administrators. 
A spokesperson said: “The pandemic significantly impacted the implementation of Simtom’s strategic plans. 
“Our immediate priority is to support employees made redundant so they can make claims via the redundancy payments office and looking for potential buyers for the business.”

Glenburn Hotel
The Glenburn Hotel, built in 1843 on the Isle of Bute and billed as Scotland’s first hydropathic hotel, has closed and gone into administration with all staff being made redundant.
The hotel overlooks Rothesay Bay and was popular with businesses and holiday makers alike due to its location and extensive facilities.  
The administration has primarily been caused by significant operating costs, coupled with the fall in revenue due to the Covid pandemic whilst still having to meet significant maintenance and running costs. 
A spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, having explored all its options, the hotel was unable to survive the significant fall in revenue caused by the Covid-19 pandemic whilst still having to meet significant maintenance and running costs. 
“We will now focus our efforts on assisting employees, many of whom have worked at the hotel for many years, to submit their claims for redundancy and other sums due to them whilst preparing to market and sell the hotel. 
“Whilst this is a sad day in the Hotel’s history, this is an outstanding opportunity to acquire an iconic hotel on one of Scotland’s most accessible islands.”

Fruehauf
A Grantham based manufacturer has gone into administration with the potential loss of 100 employees. 
Fruehauf was founded in 2010 and produces a range of tipper and rigid trailers, quality control systems and techniques. 
Administrators are considering several options including a company voluntary administration (CVA) as well as a potential sale to any interested parties. 
Freuhauf produced around half of the tipping trailers sold in the UK and ongoing delays to orders had already led to a major trailer shortage across the entire supply chain. 
The business will continue to trade while in administration but this situation might exacerbate delays.

Kapex Construction
Newcastle based Kapex Construction which was involved in a number of high profile schemes in the city has appointed administrators. 
The business launched in 2016 to work on various housing schemes throughout the North East of England and employed 62 people directly last year. 
The company was recognised by RICS for its work on All Saints Church, an 18th Century Grade 1 listed building which was on Historic England’s Heritage At Risk Register.
The business was in profit in 2020 but the cessation of building work for the majority of the previous 18 months has proven insurmountable. 
 
O’Keefe Construction
O’Keefe Construction based in Greenwich has entered a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its creditors after suffering significant losses in the financial year to May 2021. 
The business employs 178 has operated in London and the South East for over 50 years but took professional advice following severe cash flow challenges and are pursuing a CVA to continue trading while they restructure their debts. 
A spokesperson said: “A CVA will secure the company’s future as a going concern and allow it to continue to service its ongoing clients. 
“Crucially, a CVA will also maximise the returns to the company’s creditors, compared to alternative restructuring procedures. 
“On a successful approval of the CVA proposal, the company’s shareholders will contribute additional sums to support its short term cash flow and to ensure the business has increased liquidity levels. 
“The financial restructuring afforded by the CVA, alongside operational improvements made to the business, will ensure that O’Keefe is well placed to complete its ongoing and profitable work and to fulfil its client needs.”
CEO Patrick O’Keefe said: “The board was tasked with delivering the business out of the current difficulties and after taking specialist advice, has agreed to enter into a CVA to allow this mechanism to secure the long term success and profitability of the business.
“Thanks to our exceptional staff, our current portfolio of jobs is trading very well. The conclusion of the CVA process will immediately put the business on a positive footing.”
“The directors are optimistic regarding the future success of the company in view of the significant forward order book and improving project margins.”

  


We’re now into the last third of the year and what might be the most crucial month for businesses to get help and make essential decisions to secure their future for the rest of 2021. 

September will see bills and debts continue to mount, the furlough scheme finally coming to an end,  CBILS and bounce back loan repayments continuing to come due, defaults rising and the ban on creditor actions such as winding up petitions being lifted.

The time to get advice and hear what options your business has to manage its debt obligations including VAT arrears or bounce back loans is short so the best time to get in touch with us is today.

We’ll better understand your situation and be able to give you recommendations you can act on immediately to set plans in motion that will give you and your business the best chance of getting into 2022 and then working towards your medium and longer term goals. 

Before any of that can happen though, you need to take action - the sooner the better - because for some companies, the end of this month will be too late.  

Administrative Restoration

But is there a way that they can come back?  And why would a director want to resurrect a closed company anyway?

Administrative restoration is the official term for bringing a dissolved company back into existence and we’ll explain further how they can be returned to life and why directors might want to do this.


Why you should pay to liquidate your company


One reason why a dissolved company could be restored is if the directors believe it may have a profitable future trading again. Maybe the market conditions have changed or they are in a better position to make a success of the venture now than they were previously. 
The only limit to restoring a business in this way is it cannot have been dissolved for more than six years. 

The six year time limit also applies when directors look to restore a business in order to release and realise an asset. 
If a business is struck off or dissolved while still holding assets then they could become the property of the crown after a certain amount of time has elapsed. Also, they could be classed as ownerless or “bona vacantia”. 
In either scenario, if this is why a company is being restored then Companies House could temporarily place the business back on the register in order to facilitate the asset transfer or sale. 

Unlike the administrative restoration time limit of six years, there is no such restriction when it comes to pursuing claims against a dissolved business. The company might have to be restored in order for an injury or other legal claim to be lodged against it and subsequently defended.

The final reason to restore a struck off company is to rectify mistakes made during the initial process. 
A company can only be struck off if it has no debts or arrears.  
Under the imminent Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill - HMRC and the Insolvency Service will be granted retrospective investigation powers against directors. 
This will allow them to look at the circumstances and actions of directors of dissolved companies and if any errors were made, such as striking off a business with an outstanding bounce back loan or VAT arrears for example, they could be followed with sanctions. 
These would not only be fines or a disqualification period which could stretch to 15 years but under the new laws, directors could be made personally liable to repay company incurred debts.


Businesses that have been struck off by Companies House for failure to submit annual accounts or confirmation statements can also be reinstated but like all administrative restorations, they have to meet a certain criteria such as trading when they were struck off and that Companies House enforced the decision, not the directors.

If they do then they can apply to Companies House and complete an administrative restoration form.

If the business was not forcibly removed or doesn’t meet the criteria then they can seek company restoration by a court restoration order instead. 

Once the application is filed and if all the essential forms such as business accounts and financial statements are up to date then the procedure will usually be completed in about four months. 

Chris Horner, insolvency director with BusinessRescueExpert.co.uk said: “Restoring a company just to liquidate it might sound like a hassle but it could be the best thing a director could do to protect themselves if they have any concerns. 

“The new legislation is almost exclusively aimed at directors who have tried to avoid repaying bounce back loans and other debts through dissolving their businesses. 

“But directors who inadvertently struck off their company while it still had debts could very well get caught up in the same sweep.

“Directors who liquidate their companies voluntarily through a creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL) or other process don’t have anything to worry about - HMRC and the Insolvency Service are not targeting them. 

“To avoid any doubt and worry, it would make sense for a director to restore their company, liquidate it and then continue with their career after all the loose ends have finally been tied up.

“They would then avoid disqualification and being made liable for a compensation order up to the value of the company debts plus fines and costs on top.” 


Liquidation brings many benefits to a business owner or director. 

As well as having more say in the process of appointing a liquidator, they can also legally close down even if they owe bounce back loans or other debts.

It brings finality to the situation through a definitive ending allowing the owners or directors to move onto their next venture without any more stress. 

If a business has been dissolved improperly or if it had debts when it was struck off then this is a loose end that could become a bigger problem - especially if the Insolvency Service takes an interest in the business and how it was being run before closure. 

Getting advice from an insolvency professional is always a good idea if you’re thinking about closing a business but if you need to consider an administrative restoration then it’s essential. 

We offer a free initial consultation for any business owner or director to discuss the issues facing their company and together we can work out an efficient and effective solution which can usually be begun to be implemented almost immediately. 

The sooner you get in touch, the sooner we can help.

Liquidation2

We’ve all seen multiple examples of it on social media especially, people will gleefully share false news and images that a simple check of the BBC or other reputable news site could tell them is not true. 

Received wisdom and advice can be harder to disprove than this so we find it annoying when we hear false and wrong advice passed off as something credible. 

One example we’re sadly hearing a lot about recently is the idea that companies with debts, including bounce back loans, business rates and VAT arrears, can simply dissolve themselves and these obligations away into thin air. 

Usually sensible people have been taken in by this one in particular - we even had a good client ask us “why should I pay for my company’s liquidation? Can’t I get it for free if it’s struck off?”


Why are businesses with outstanding bounce back loan borrowing being stopped from closing down?


The main reason why you should consider a voluntary liquidation rather than a strike off is because of the directors investigation aspect. 

The liquidator has to investigate the conduct of the directors in the lead up to the liquidation as a mandatory part of the process but if you have done everything in your power to keep the business running and have kept your records in good order then you’ll have nothing to worry about. 

Even if, in hindsight, you’re worried about how a couple of your decisions and actions might be viewed, you can explain the circumstances and rationale to the liquidator and if you can provide supporting evidence, they will be quite likely to accept your version of events and say so in their report to HMRC. 

The same doesn’t apply for directors who try to strike off or dissolve their company with outstanding debts - whether they be bounce back loans, CBILS, VAT arrears or other tax payments they owe. 

The rules about striking off are very strict and explicit - no company with debts can be struck off. 

But this doesn’t stop some unscrupulous business owners from trying to dissolve the firm to avoid their obligations - or honest directors that have received some bad advice and been told that this is possible.

There’s a new law making its way through parliament at the moment - the Rating (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill - that will give dishonest directors some pause for thought. 

Right now director disqualifications can be implemented for clear offences such as falsifying records and taking money out of an insolvency business. 

Any attempt to defraud HMRC by deliberately avoiding paying bounce back loan debts for example, would also very likely lead to disqualification.

The HMRC have held their fire considerably during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown periods because of the unique situation a lot of otherwise viable and profitable businesses found themselves in.

Things are changing as more industries begin to trade without restrictions, HMRC and The Insolvency Service will also be moving up the gears to begin recouping some of the historic levels of support paid out. 

One way they will do this is by using new powers given to them by the bill that allows retrospective investigations and actions to be taken against directors for the first time if they’re found to have dissolved their company with outstanding debts. 

Company strike offs and dissolutions will be examined to see if any were carried out with outstanding debts and if discovered could lead to punishments including fines, disqualifications of up to 15 years and personal financial liability to settle the debts placed on the directors. 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “We need to restore business confidence and people’s confidence in business. 

“This is why we won’t hesitate to disqualify directors who deliberately leave employees and taxpayers out of pocket. Extending powers to investigate directors of dissolved companies means those who have previously been able to avoid their responsibilities will be held to account.” 

Chris Horner, Insolvency Director with Businessrescueexpert.co.uk, sets out the likely scenario.

“The new legislation is clearly aimed at those directors who thought they’d be clever and try to dissolve their companies to avoid paying their creditors - including HMRC.

“Directors who’ve done the right thing and liquidated their companies voluntarily through a creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL) or other process don’t have anything to worry about from the bill. 

“Dissolution or striking off a company is a cheap and efficient way of closing a dormant or debt free business and thousands of businesses do it every year. 

“It’s the small minority of directors who thought it was a great way to dodge their debts that should rightly be dreading a letter, email or increasingly possible from the end of September - a knock at the door. 

“An important point to make for businesses that legitimately took out bounce back loans or CBILS borrowing is that they aren’t HMRC’s primary target either.

“ As long as they have kept records and documentation or other evidence that supports their explanations on how the money was used, why they borrowed it, how their business functioned during the pandemic then they can be confident that they can answer any questions fully and convincingly. 

There are several other good reasons why you should be happy to liquidate your business voluntarily:

You can take advice and pick the insolvency practitioner choice of your choice to oversee the process and guide you through the issues and requirements. 

If a company goes into liquidation any personal guarantees directors have given on debt will crystallise - becoming payable immediately. A liquidator will help you create a plan to deal with this situation. Similarly, a liquidator has a duty to recover any funds owing from overdrawn directors loan accounts and can advise ahead of time the best course of action to deal with this eventuality.

A liquidator can advise on the redundancy procedure for existing staff and/or the transfer of existing staff to a new business (TUPE). 

One often overlooked but important detail is that directors who have been paid via PAYE are also eligible for redundancy payments. 

The liquidator can advise the best way forward to access what could be some vital income - especially as it may be possible to use it to finance the liquidation process with the proceeds.

There are a lot of things that have to be done correctly in a liquidation and it can be easy to lose track of them, especially if your attention is being pulled in several different directions. 

The liquidator will keep you on track of what needs to be done, how and when including the sale of assets, transfer of leases and several other requirements.

Topics such as liquidation and dissolution can be stressful at the best of times but even more so when sanctions such as disqualification and being made personally liable to repay any debts your company was closed down inappropriately or deceitfully. 

The vast majority of businesses that have closed down in the past two years have nothing to worry about. They did their duties to the best of their ability and made the difficult but ultimately correct decisions to close their companies down.

Several others might now be in a similar position and are nervous that although the correct decision is to liquidate the business, this wouldn’t be the end of matters for them or the company. 

We can reassure them in one conversation. 

After a free initial consultation with one of our expert advisors, directors will have a far clearer idea of what options they have to close or restructure their companies, the costs involved and what the likely timescales will be. 

Then, for the first time in a while for many, they will finally be able to see an end to their problems and be able to think of new beginnings instead. 

British pubs

After the most difficult 18 months imaginable, most are able to finally reopen. 

Even with some restrictions remaining in place, this is the moment many restaurants, bars, nightclubs, takeaways and other hospitality venues have been looking forward to. 

But look a little closer and each one has further difficulties of their own to overcome. 

According to the latest figures released from the Office for National Statistics, job vacancies passed 1 million for the first time on record and the unemployment rate has dropped to 4.7%.

So why are many hospitality businesses struggling to recruit or retain returning staff? 

The furlough scheme is still in operation until the end of September but the proportion of the working population out of work remains higher than before the pandemic. 

Industry sources indicate that a gap of approximately 180,000 has grown between available positions and potential recruits available to fill them. 

Various reasons have been posited for this gap including former employees finding work in other industries during enforced business closures, better pay, working hours and work/life balance elsewhere, Brexit and the potential uncertainty of businesses continuing to remain open. 

Many restaurants and bars were caught out in the “reopen then close” loop before. 

Hospitality recruiters are now looking at offering higher pay and benefits as UK wages have risen by nearly 7.4% which is causing more headaches for desperate employers tempted or forced to offer unsustainable packages to entice badly needed staff to join and meet an expected high demand from customers who are either staying in the UK for their holidays or are eager to eat out once again after lockdown. 

The worry for some directors and hospitality business owners is that any rise in demand is temporary and they will be in the impossible position of paying higher wages and costs with reduced demand just when furlough and other government support measures and restrictions on creditor actions are withdrawn in just six weeks time, 


Six weeks to save your business? Why the end of September is bringing big changes you need to know about.


Nightclubs and other parts of the night time economy have also found reopening a struggle. 

The much heralded “freedom day” was disappointing for most as a mix of low consumer confidence, confusing messaging and staffing issues means many are still some way off operating at even 50% capacity. 

They are also operating under a forthcoming requirement for vaccine passports which the government still plans to make mandatory for entry into large-scale venues from the end of September. 

Will Power, owner and operator of the Lab 11 club in Birmingham said it was “complete madness” to limit nightclub entry only to those who’ve been double jabbed. 

He said: “It’s great to be back but we saw a pretty large number of no-shows on our opening weekend.

The venue sold 1,400 tickets for its welcome back night but only 450 attended. A second event saw 850 attendees against 1,500 advance tickets sold and they have had to refund as much as 40% of ticket sales for some events. 

While they haven’t had to cancel any events, Power said the venue was in a “vicious cycle.”

“Every time we’ve had to reschedule events due to restrictions it lowers consumer confidence in purchasing advance tickets for future events.”

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), said: “These are businesses that have just spent months - some have been waiting for this moment ever since they shut down in March 2020 - preparing to reopen. 

“Then, on the much-vaunted day of reopening, they are told, ‘Actually, you are going to have to completely change key features of how you operate within months’. It just isn’t fair and it isn’t right to treat businesses this way.”

Even surviving so far should be a reason to celebrate for a lot of nightclubs. 

A study from UKHospitality showed that nearly a third of clubs had closed for good during the past six years alone. 

491 clubs from all over the UK, some 29% of the sector, have shut their doors since 2015 going from 1,694 in 2015 to 1,203 in February this year. 

The ones that reopen might also be facing a hiring crisis of their own as licensed door and security staff numbers are falling too. 

Door Staff require an up-to-date SIA (Security Industry Authority) licence to operate although applications received in the last 12 months are reported to have significantly reduced. 

Following the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns approx. 51% of nightclub staff including security personnel have been made redundant; the majority of whom would have been employed under zero-hours terms which would have made them ineligible for furlough under the coronavirus jobs retention scheme. 

Many will have found new employment leaving a recruitment gap similar to the one facing the other hospitality sectors.

It’s not just employees in the hospitality sector that have been considering their futures during the previous year and a half. 

Many business owners and directors will be looking at their business plans and financial projections and facing some hard choices about what to do in the short and medium term. 

The mountain of obstacles facing them might just be insurmountable right now but that doesn’t mean they can’t try again when conditions are more favourable for success. 

We offer a free initial consultation to any business owner or director to discuss the most efficient and cost effective ways of closing their business and managing any debts including bounce back loans or other arrears. 

Depending on their individual circumstances, they could look to restructure their financial affairs and keep the company going or they could liquidate the old business and ultimately relaunch a new venture within weeks, hopefully without covid restrictions and just in time for a busy Christmas and New Year season. 

Train

The bounce back loan scheme was a success for many of the businesses who took them out. 

They helped them to keep trading or to support themselves and their employees whilst locked down and unable to function normally. 

The final official borrowing figures released by the government earlier this year showed that over 1.5 million bounce back loans had been granted for a total of £47 billion - all guaranteed by the government. 

Over 44,000 north east businesses took part in the scheme, borrowing an average of £26,751 each or £1.2 billion collectively - an amount equivalent to the cost of building fifty brand new stadiums the size of Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. 

27.5% of north east businesses, over one in four, applied for bounce back loan financing, which was the highest demand in the country. The average amount loaned however was the lowest amount - some £7,000 less on average than a London-based business which saves an average borrowing figure of £33,480 per loan - the highest average amount in the country.

Earlier this year, BusinessRescueExpert.co.uk conducted an investigation into the risk of defaults around bounce back loan borrowing done by businesses. 

In the North East they found that even under the official best-case scenario, approx. 15% of loans would remain uncollected. That would be 6,729 in our region - with a total of £180 million remaining unpaid.

At around the same time we published our results, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) announced that they would begin to enforce bounce back loan debt recovery imminently but carefully. 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wrote that: “HMRC would adopt a cautious approach to enforcement of debt owed to government that will have accrued” and that HMRC would soon update its enforcement methods so that any outstanding debt could be brought into managed arrangements for businesses affected by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. 

Specifically he said that using insolvency to enforce payment would remain a last resort and that he recognised that “the path back to full trading will be difficult for many companies, particularly those with accrued debt and low cash reserves.”

If BEIS are playing the good cop in this scenario then the Insolvency Service are playing the bad cop - promoting their recent successful attempts to wind up several limited companies that had been involved in fraudulent activity including dishonestly obtaining bounce back loans.

Dave Elliott, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service said: “The bounce back loan scheme was made available to help support businesses during the pandemic. 

“It’s outrageous that some directors have been trying to abuse this support, and the action we have taken shows we take this issue extremely seriously.”

Despite the tough talk, just how seriously are the authorities cracking down on bad bounce back loan behaviour by directors and business owners?

One growing trend we’ve noticed recently in the north east and elsewhere is where companies with outstanding bounce back loan arrears are attempting to dissolve their businesses, or have them struck off. 

Company dissolution is a perfectly legal method of closing a company but comes with a set of strict conditions

Dissolution is not an available tool if the company owes any money, including outstanding tax or a bounce back loan. 

New legislation, specifically aimed at unscrupulous directors, is due to become law later this year (but will apply retrospectively) and will be a big problem for those who’ve tried to close their company this way and avoid their legal responsibilities. 

The Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill 2021 will allow the Insolvency Service to specifically target and pursue directors who close their companies by dissolving their businesses when they have outstanding debts.

One of the main new measures will see the Insolvency Service given retrospective powers to investigate directors of struck off companies and how they acted in the circumstances leading up to the dissolution. 

Being retrospective, directors of north east businesses dissolved not only in 2021 but within the past couple of years can expect to be contacted in the near future if they had bounce back loans or tax debt.. 

Directors of businesses with outstanding bounce back loan debts trying to dissolve their business from now on can reasonably expect to receive an “Objection to Company Strike Off Notice”.

This prevents the company from being struck off and will also be an invitation for any of their other creditors to register their objections to the striking off as well. 


Disqualification and fines

No system is 100% perfect so occasionally a business with outstanding debts slips through the net and is struck off.

What are the likely consequences facing directors who have managed to get their businesses struck off with bounce back loan arrears? 

In the first instance the Insolvency Service will be looking to disqualify any directors of companies who have allowed their business to be struck off when it has debt. 

The disqualifications will be for up to 15 years depending on the circumstances. The directors will also be personally liable for fines and any costs incurred.


State of play

So now you’ve got a better idea of what could happen - we thought we’d go one step further and find out what’s actually going on with dissolution objections right now. 

Businessrescueexpert.co.uk lodged an FOI inquiry with BEIS earlier this month to ask if they are actively filing objections with Companies House against businesses with outstanding bounce back loans that are looking to be struck off. 

We also asked on what legal basis these objections were being lodged under. 

BEIS confirmed that it is filing objections where “a strike off notice has been issued against a company which has an outstanding bounce back loan”. 

The legal authority allowing them to do so is contained within the Companies House strike off, dissolution and restoration guidance updated in March 2021. 


Liquidation - a proper alternative to striking off

Now we have official confirmation that dissolutions are being officially objected to - with the consequences we’ve outlined - what can worried north east directors do?

Bounce back loan repayments are falling due, and the last support measures and protections against creditor actions are being removed within weeks

All of this adds increased pressure to cash flows that are already squeezed to the limit as they try to manage all the outgoings with reduced income - if they’re able to trade without restriction once again.

If a business is genuinely unable to meet all of its obligations and liabilities including bounce back loan arrears then there is still one legal insolvency process they can follow that would allow them to close their company, settle their debts and move on to the next chapter of their career efficiently and effectively. 

Company liquidation, or specifically a creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL), is the best route for a business with outstanding debts including unpaid bounce back loans, to follow. 

Once they’ve engaged a licensed insolvency practitioner, they will immediately take over all dealings with creditors and work through the rest of a businesses debts to compile a full picture of who is owed and how much. 

Chris Horner, insolvency director with Businessrescueexpert.co.uk, said: “Our FOI inquiry has proven that HMRC are treating improperly dissolved and dissolving companies as their highest priority, which should effectively close off this avenue for directors looking to close down their businesses. 

“We can expect to see more compensation orders being used to make directors personally liable for the debts of their struck off businesses if the Insolvency Service believe they’ve been done incorrectly or to evade oversight.

“Another common misunderstanding about bounce back loans is that because they are underpinned by government guarantee, they won’t be chased by lenders. They will. 

“The lender will try to secure repayment for at least 12 months as standard as a condition of reimbursement because they will have to show the government they tried to recover the funds they lent. 

“They probably won’t start insolvency proceedings just for bounce back loan debt but when restrictions are lifted at the end of September they could use debt collectors and bailiffs to enforce repayment. 

“If a business chooses to liquidate instead then the bounce back loan will be treated as any other unsecured debt and if the directors have fulfilled their duties to the best of their abilities, then the lender will ultimately be repaid by the government.

“The most important thing any business in the north east or anywhere else that’s having difficulties repaying any debts, including bounce back loans, can do right now is to get professional insolvency advice

“The rules literally change at the end of September so if they use this time constructively to protect themselves and their business financially and legally, they could already have moved onto their next venture by the time this happens.”

HMRC

 

The bounce back loan scheme was a success for many of the businesses who used it to help them to keep trading or to support themselves and their employees whilst lock down was in effect. 

The final official borrowing figures released by the government showed that over 1.5 million bounce back loans had been granted for a total of £47 billion - all guaranteed by the government. 

Earlier this year, BusinessRescueExpert.co.uk conducted an investigation into the risk of defaults around bounce back loan borrowing and found that even the official best-case scenario would see nearly 230,000 loans remaining unpaid for a total of £6.9 billion - or the equivalent of building six new stadiums the size of Wembley.

At around the same time the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) that they would begin to enforce bounce back loan debt recovery imminently but carefully. 

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng wrote that: “HMRC would adopt a cautious approach to enforcement of debt owed to government that will have accrued” and that HMRC would soon update its enforcement methods so that any outstanding debt could be brought into managed arrangements for businesses affected by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. 

Specifically he said that using insolvency to enforce payment would remain a last resort and that he recognised that “the path back to full trading will be difficult for many companies, particularly those with accrued debt and low cash reserves.”

If BEIS are playing the good cop in this scenario then the Insolvency Service are playing the bad cop - promoting their recent successful attempts to wind up several limited companies that had been involved in fraudulent activity including dishonestly obtaining bounce back loans.

Dave Elliott, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service said: “The bounce back loan scheme was made available to help support businesses during the pandemic. 

“It’s outrageous that some directors have been trying to abuse this support, and the action we have taken shows we take this issue extremely seriously.”

Despite the tough talk, just how seriously are the authorities cracking down on bad bounce back loan behaviour by directors and business owners?


One growing trend we’ve noticed recently is where companies with outstanding bounce back loan arrears are attempting to dissolve their businesses, or have them struck off. 

Company dissolution is a perfectly legal method of closing a company but comes with a set of strict conditions. It is not an available tool if the company owes any money, including tax or a bounce back loan. New legislation, specifically aimed at unscrupulous directors, is due to become law this year (but will apply retrospectively) and will be a big problem for those  who’ve tried to close their company this way and avoid their legal responsibilities. 

The Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill will allow the Insolvency Service to specifically target and pursue directors who close their companies by dissolving their businesses when they have outstanding debts.

One of the main new measures will see the Insolvency Service given retrospective powers to investigate directors of struck off companies and how they acted in the circumstances leading up to the dissolution. 

Being retrospective, directors of businesses dissolved not only in 2021 but within the past couple of years can expect to be contacted in the near future if they had bounce back loans or tax debt.. 

Directors of businesses with outstanding bounce back loan debts trying to dissolve their business from now on can reasonably expect to receive an “Objection to Company Strike Off Notice”.

This prevents the company from being struck off and will also be an invitation for any of their other creditors to register their objections to the striking off as well. 


Disqualification and fines

No system is 100% perfect so occasionally a business with outstanding debts slips through the net and is struck off.

What are the likely consequences facing directors who have managed to get their businesses struck off with bounce back loan arrears? 

In the first instance the Insolvency Service will be looking to disqualify any directors of companies who have allowed their business to be struck off when it has debt. The disqualifications will be for up to 15 years depending on the circumstances. The directors will also be personally liable for fines and any costs incurred. 

State of play

So now you’ve got a better idea of what could happen - we thought we’d go one step further and find out what’s actually going on with dissolution objections right now. 

Businessrescueexpert.co.uk lodged an FOI inquiry with BEIS earlier this month to ask if they are now filing objections with Companies House against companies with outstanding bounce back loans that are looking to be struck off. 

We also asked on what legal basis these objections were being lodged under. 

BEIS confirmed that it is filing objections where “a strike off notice has been issued against a company which has an outstanding bounce back loan”. 

The legal authority allowing them to do so is contained within the Companies House strike off, dissolution and restoration guidance updated in March 2021. 

Liquidation - a proper alternative

Now we have official confirmation that dissolutions are being officially objected to - with the consequences we’ve outlined - what can worried directors do?

Bounce back loan repayments are falling due, and the last support measures and protections against creditor actions are being removed within weeks

All of this adds increased pressure to cash flows that are already squeezed to the limit as they try to manage all the outgoings with reduced income - if they’re able to trade without restriction once again.

If a business is genuinely unable to meet all of its obligations and liabilities including bounce back loan arrears then there is still one legal insolvency process they can follow that would allow them to close their company, settle their debts and move on to the next chapter of their career efficiently and effectively. 

Company liquidation, or specifically a creditors voluntary liquidation (CVL), is the best route for a business with outstanding debts including unpaid bounce back loans, to follow. 

Once they’ve engaged a licensed insolvency practitioner, they will immediately take over all dealings with creditors and work through the rest of a businesses debts to compile a full picture of who is owed and how much. 

Chris Horner, insolvency director with Businessrescueexpert.co.uk, said: “Our FOI inquiry has proven that HMRC are treating improperly dissolved and dissolving companies as their highest priority, which should effectively close off this avenue for directors looking to close down their businesses. 

“We can expect to see more compensation orders being used to make directors personally liable for the debts of their struck off businesses if the Insolvency Service believe they’ve been done incorrectly or to evade oversight.

“Another common misunderstanding about bounce back loans is that because they are underpinned by government guarantee, they won’t be chased by lenders. They will. 

“The lender will try to secure repayment for at least 12 months as standard as a condition of reimbursement because they will have to show the government they tried to recover the funds they lent. 

“They probably won’t start insolvency proceedings just for bounce back loan debt but when restrictions are lifted at the end of September they could use debt collectors and bailiffs to enforce repayment. 

“If a business chooses to liquidate instead then the bounce back loan will be treated as any other unsecured debt and if the directors have fulfilled their duties to the best of their abilities, then the lender will ultimately be repaid by the government.

“The most important thing any business having difficulties repaying any debts, including bounce back loans, can do right now is to get professional insolvency advice

“The rules literally change at the end of September so if they use this time constructively to protect themselves and their business financially and legally, they could already have moved onto their next venture by the time this happens.”

life presever

Firstly, as we’ve written previously, the furlough scheme introduced under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) will begin to be phased out from July 1st. 

This means that businesses' contributions to their furloughed staff’s wages will increase from 5% to 14% to include a greater share of the national insurance and pension costs. 

Businesses that successfully obtained a VAT deferral on payments from 2020 will now have to begin repaying them, while many companies that took out borrowing under the bounce back loan scheme or CBILS will see their repayments come due for the first time if they arrange to defer them six months. 

It’s worse news for businesses in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors too as they lose their business rates exemptions, even while some of them remain closed and unable to trade until July 19th at the very earliest. 

The government confirmed that winding up petitions will still be temporarily suspended until September 30th but interestingly, wrongful trading suspensions will resume. 


What is the difference between wrongful trading and fraudulent trading?


Wrongful trading, or trading while insolvent, should be a concern for directors because as well as disqualification, they could also be held personally liable for any debts the business incurs during this period. 

The leeway this suspension granted directors has now disappeared and if a business can’t pay its debts when they come due or if their liabilities exceed total assets then they run the risk of wrongful trading and the potential penalties it carries. 

Another temporary measure being allowed to lapse involves termination clauses. 

This has stopped suppliers from ceasing their supply or asking for any additional payments or security from a business that is undergoing a restructuring or administration process. 

All of this might indicate a looming crisis for some companies but Chris Horner, insolvency director with Business Rescue Expert, thinks it can be the perfect window of opportunity, if they move quickly enough to take advantage. 

He said: “Directors and business owners have approximately 12 weeks until September 30th when they can take a positive decision to secure the best chance of future prosperity of their companies.

“They will have to move quickly before winding up petitions and other threats such as HMRC enforcement actions and visits from bailiffs become a possibility but they will have a range of options available to them depending on the individual circumstances they’re facing. 

“Whether they ultimately decide to close the business through a liquidation process or if an administration or a CVA are more appropriate, all are able to accommodate businesses with PAYE or other tax arrears, bounce back loan or CBILS debt and other unmanageable corporate debt. 

“This also applies to businesses that could be at threat from termination clauses being invoked. Construction companies for example that rely on the guaranteed availability of materials could quickly find themselves in difficulties if suppliers start to use their newly restored rights. 

“Otherwise profitable businesses could find themselves trading while insolvent through no fault of their own but due to the actions of a supplier. If this happened within this 12 week window of opportunity, they would be able to use the circumstances to their advantage to come up with the best recovery strategy.”

If there’s one lesson the past 18 months have taught us, it’s that things can change very quickly. 

As the coronavirus support measures begin to be withdrawn, it provides possibly the last opportunity for business owners and directors to get active in their own rescue and make decisions before they’re forced to, under less favourable circumstances. 

Start by getting in touch with us. 

We’ll arrange a free, initial consultation where, once we get a better understanding of your situation, we can outline your options and begin working with you on a plan to implement them quickly, efficiently and effectively. 

Then you might be able to finally enjoy the summer. 

HMRC

Specifically because the repayments from this and other Covid-19 support measures are coming due this year - if they haven’t already - and there is some confusion for businesses looking to close down about how seriously or not this outstanding debt is being treated. 

A recent example of the confusion is a letter that the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng sent in a letter to business leaders this week. 

In the letter, he said that HMRC would take a “cautious approach” with companies that were trying to reopen post lockdown and pay down their debt appropriately. 

Specifically replying to concerns raised by R3, the insolvency trade body and the Institute of Directors that urged HMRC to help businesses in danger of becoming insolvent due to a combination of issues including:

Kwarteng wrote that HMRC would “adopt a cautious approach to enforcement of debt owed to government that will have accrued” and said that HMRC would soon update its enforcement methods so that any outstanding debt could be brought into managed arrangements for businesses affected by the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. 

He said that using insolvency to enforce payment would remain a last resort and that he recognised that “the path back to full trading will be difficult for many companies, particularly those with accrued debt and low cash reserves.”


Does your business need to worry about bounce back loan fraud?


This is in contrast to news published by The Insolvency Service in the same week highlighting their success in petitioning courts to wind up five limited companies since this year that had been involved in fraudulent activity involving bounce back loans and CBILS borrowing. 

Dave Elliott, Chief Investigator at the Insolvency Service said: “The bounce back loan scheme was made available to help support businesses during the pandemic. 

“It’s outrageous that some directors have been trying to abuse this support, and the action we have taken shows we take this issue extremely seriously.”

The new Ratings (Coronavirus) and Directors Disqualification (Dissolved Companies) Bill, currently before Parliament, will give the Insolvency Service additional powers to investigate and disqualify directors of companies which fraudulently claimed bounce back loans but were then subsequently dissolved. 

The investigative power will be retrospective to look at conduct that took place before the law came into place and if wrongdoing or malpractice is found, the sanctions can include a ban of up to 15 years or even criminal prosecution for serious offences uncovered. 

Chris Horner, Insolvency Director with Business Rescue Expert, thinks that while it’s useful for HMRC and the Insolvency Service to remind directors and business owners about their responsibilities, the mixed messaging might cause unnecessary confusion.

He said: “From the conversations we’ve been having within the industry and examples we’ve seen it’s apparent that the Insolvency Service are directly targeting abuse of the bounce back loan scheme, CBILS and furlough fraud as their highest priority this summer.  

“They will specifically be looking at businesses with bounce back loans who have tried to use the route of dissolution or striking off to close their business down instead of using a more appropriate liquidation procedure

“In these circumstances it wouldn’t be surprising to see them seeking compensation orders to make directors personally liable for these debts if they have closed their business incorrectly in the eyes of the Insolvency Service. 

“Recovery action on defaulted payments will be pursued for at least 12 months as standard and even though lenders will be repaid under government guarantee for bounce back loans for example, they are still required to continue any recovery action. 

“They will probably avoid initiating insolvency proceedings just for bounce back loan debt by itself but will continue with debt collection measures including using debt collectors or bailiffs. 

“We can also clarify that any personal guarantees given against bounce back loan debt specifically are unenforceable and these debts cannot be sold on to other collectors. They will remain the responsibility of the original lender to collect. 

“Another thing bounce back loan borrowers need to remember is that even if they have obtained a payment holiday from their first repayments, interest continues to accrue during the payment holiday.  

“If a business with bounce back loan borrowing is contemplating liquidation, which it can do, it will be treated like any other creditor and should not be paid over and above agreed repayment terms. 

“This also includes if the funds are being held as cash in their bank account. They should not use this to repay the lender ahead of other creditors as in the event of insolvency it would be treated as a preferential payment.”

If your business has taken out a bounce back loan or CBILS borrowing in the past 18 months and you’re worried about repayments or if you think your best option is to close your company but don’t know how to deal with these specific debts then get in touch with us today.

We offer a free initial consultation for business owners and directors to discuss their situation and we’ll work with them to come up with the most efficient and effective plan to reach their goals. 

As it continues to be a challenging environment for companies and will remain so for the rest of the year and possibly beyond, so taking the time to fix any financial difficulties facing your business right now could be the best time investment you make in 2021.   

Business Rescue Expert is part of Robson Scott Associates Limited, a limited company registered in England and Wales No. 05331812, a leading independent insolvency practice, specialising in business rescue advice. The company holds professional indemnity insurance and complies with the EU Services Directive. Christopher Horner (IP no 16150) is licenced by the Insolvency Practitioners Association

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