R3’s Press, Policy and Public Affairs update, September 2020
08 October 2020
The fight against fraud came back into the spotlight in September, with the publication of the Government's response to its "Corporate transparency and register reform" consultation, looking at "options to enhance the role of Companies House and increase the transparency of UK corporate entities".
The UK insolvency and restructuring profession plays a key role in tackling fraud and pursuing directors who have acted unlawfully, so the Government's proposals are of great interest to R3 and our members. Notably, the new requirement to verify directors' IDs (along with the identities of PSCs and company formation agents) is a welcome one, and one R3 has long called for, due to our members' frustration at seeing directors deliberately using different spellings of their name, adding or omitting middle names, or using different dates of birth in order to make it harder to pin down a pattern of involvement in a string of companies.
However, we are slightly disappointed that the Government has not taken on board some of our suggestions around granting enhanced access to Companies House data to members of the profession, to help them in their investigations - this is a measure which we think could be introduced relatively easily, and which would help to boost returns to creditors as well as deter rogue directors, thus preventing future financial losses. We will continue to engage with the Government on this point. Read our recent post for more information on the consultation response.
HMRC is due to regain secondary preferential status for some kinds of tax debt at the start of December, despite our best efforts to get the Government to change its mind. We compiled the mentions our campaigning garnered into a video - see the trailer here, or the full version in this post. The campaign continues - and we note with interest this Parliamentary Question from Anneliese Dodds, the Shadow Chancellor, to the Treasury on the policy's projected financial impact. Once more, the response from the Treasury does not take into account the chilling effect on business lending which we believe the change in HMRC's status will have (read here for more detail on this point).
In September, we issued commentary on the most recent monthly insolvency statistics for England and Wales, which can be read here. We also published a response to the Chancellor's announcement that the ban on the issuing of statutory demands and winding-up petitions would be extended to the end of the year, noting that it would be "welcome news to many businesses across the country". Both statements received good pick-up in the regional press, along with commentary on what businesses should do to prepare for the end of the furlough scheme, and data from the Centre for Cities showing how different areas across the UK are recovering in terms of economic activity.
The media team also arranged interviews and background briefings for journalists from the Financial Times, the Times, and the Daily Telegraph.
R3 members can provide advice on a range of business and personal finance issues. To find an R3 member who can help you, click below.