ICSM Business News: publisher's directors disqualified after the firm took out a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan despite being insolvent

ICSM Business News: publisher's directors disqualified after the firm took out a £50,000 Bounce Back Loan despite being insolvent

By Harry Mottram: From publishers to construction companies the Insolvency Service has revealed a long list of directors who have been disqualified following illegally applying for Bounce Back Loans during the Covid crisis. In the trade publication Print Week Jo Francis reported on the directors  of Chambers Media Limited who were disqualified for a number of charges of abusing the tax-payer back business support loans.

Jo Francis reported: “The Insolvency Service found that Nicola Chambers caused Chambers Media Ltd to obtain a Bounce Back Loan (BBL) of £50,000 from NatWest Bank when she knew that Chambers Media was insolvent, and the firm's assets had already been sold.”

She added: “Chambers, who was born in January 1972 and whose last known address was on Highdown Avenue in Worthing, has been banned for 12 years, with the ban effective from 14 June 2023. Fellow director Donna Chambers has also been disqualified for four years, from the same date.”

The company also failed to pay what it owed in Corporation Tax, PAYE/NIC and VAT and HM Revenue & Customs leaving a trail of debts while seemingly paying the directors some of the loans leaving a deficit of £189,899 when the firm ceased trading in 2020.

Ian Carrotte of ICSM said: “It’s one of the biggest scandals to emerge from the Covid Crisis with some £129 billion pounds in loans to firms agreed but at least £16 billion pounds lost to fraud. For businesses that either used the loans to remain solvent and to emerge intact after the covid restrictions or managed to survive without the loans this is a real shock.”

The Insolvency Service set up a team to chase down the fraudulent uses of Bounce Back Loans, saying they have achieved 106 director disqualifications, 48 bankruptcy restrictions and 13 companies have been wound up in the public interest.

A look at the lists published by the Insolvency Service reveals a pattern of banks failing to check up on the loan applications where firms that either didn’t exist or had ceased trading being awarded loans of tens of thousands of pounds. One of the main reasons it was possible was directors could self-certify the turn-over of their firms meaning they could simply invent a figure that looked good in the application.

ICSM have campaigned against rogue businesses and those that do a ‘phoenix’ by closing one firm that has a string of unpaid debts only to open a new one to continue in business. So, the closing lines of Jo Francis’s report makes for disturbing reading. She penned: “Chambers Media is now the trading name of Global News Media Ltd, based in Worthing, which is described as an ‘international publisher, global PR agent and advertising specialist’ focused on demolition, asbestos and diggers.”


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