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British Steel has entered compulsory liquidation today with EY being appointed as special managers. Is British Steel the first real victim of Brexit? First, as a result of the delay in the UK’s divorce deal, the EU delayed granting carbon credits to British Steel necessitating a £120m loan from the government to stave off significant penalties in relation to its emissions targets. The directors now cite “Brexit-related issues” as the reasons for the failure of the business, with the on-going uncertainty over future tariffs and trading terms resulting in the company’s order book from Europe falling off a cliff.
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A disguised remuneration scheme (DRS) is a tax avoidance scheme, many of which involve  artificial remuneration arrangements between an employer and employee. The schemes commonly provide for an employee to be partially remunerated through the company payroll system but with the majority of their remuneration taking the form of a loan. The loan is often funded via a third party (typically an off-shore trust) but, where the loans are never intended to be repaid, HMRC treat the monies advanced as taxable income.
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On 10 April 2019, the government launched an Independent Review into the Quality and Effectiveness of Audit. This comes at a time when the Business Select Committee has called for the Big 4 accountancy firms to be split up and also reports in the news that following the failures of Carillion, Patisserie Valerie, Interserve and others, shareholders are going to give very close scrutiny to the performance of auditors and not merely rubber-stamp their re-appointment at annual general meeting.
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There are many issues that can hinder the collection of book debts and insolvency (of either the creditor or the debtor) is usually the catalyst for most them. Following an insolvency, those attempting to collect book debts are often faced with a number of reasons as to why a debtor can’t or won’t pay, including the set-off / contra arrangements, product warranty concerns, defective or non-delivery of goods or services and last, but not least, retention of title (“RoT”) clauses.
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The number of times Mrs May’s Brexit deal is being put to the vote in the House of Commons may remind some of the film “Groundhog Day”.  At least in that film there was a happy ending – can the same be said when Brexit is finally done and dusted?

In the World Bank’s “Doing Business 2017“ Report, the UK was listed as the 7th best country in which to start a business. Will that remain the case once we leave the EU? The news that many financial services companies are relocating their headquarters to EU bases, Honda is preparing to close its plant in Swindon by 2021 with the loss of 3,500 jobs, the recent collapse of Interserve and the failure of a host of high street retailers over the past few months does not bode well. Some of these events may have occurred even if Brexit was not in play – but certainly, Brexit has had an impact. What, ultimately, could be the cost to UK business of Brexit, even if a deal is ultimately agreed?

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In the recent case of BTI 2014 LLC v Sequana SA & others, the Court of Appeal considered (1) whether section 423 of the Insolvency Act 1986 could apply to the payment of a dividend and (2) when a director’s duty to consider the interests of creditors arises. The Court held that a dividend is capable of being a transaction at an undervalue within the meaning of section 423(1) of the Insolvency Act 1986 and commented that a director’s duty to creditors arises when directors know or should know that the company is or is likely (i.e. probable) to become insolvent.

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