Anna Blackaby, Birmingham Post, 14th September, 2009
Car industry expert Professor David Bailey, of Coventry University Business School, expressed hope that the inquiry may lead to greater accountability and transparency in the business world.
‘It’s very interesting,” the Professor said, ‘there is a lot of detailed stuff in there about what the Phoenix Four paid themselves – that wasn’t a surprise but at least there’s now a definite figure. What they did does not look very good – they were ultimately responsible for the failure of this company. They should have found a partner – they didn’t and the company went bust.”
Labour MP Richard Burden for Northfield said claims in the report that the Phoenix Four misled him as well as the select committee were ‘extremely serious”. ‘I had hoped this would draw a line under the whole saga, but if they have misled MPs, these are serious allegations which need to be answered. If that means further proceedings, then so be it. The Phoenix Directors have not answered these allegations. I want to know if they misled me.”
The one thing the report cannot bring back is the jobs of 6,000 workers. What we are calling for now is the release of the money promised to workers and for it to be distributed fairly. We are asking the Phoenix Four and the bank concerned to act urgently.” Tony Woodley, Joint General Secretary, Unite
Peter Luff, Tory Chairman of the Business Select Committee, said he received a letter from Lord Mandelson drawing his attention to sections of the report that were likely to be considered by the group of MPs when they meet later this month. ‘Given the committee’s long-standing interest in the saga, it is unthinkable we would not take further steps in light of this report,” Mr Luff said.
Unite Joint General Secretary Tony Woodley said that when the firm went into administration, the Phoenix Four promised to put £2.5 million each into a trust for the workers, as well as money which was raised from the sale of assets including Studley Castle and MG Sports Tools. It is estimated that the value of the trust could amount to £22 million.
Mr Woodley said: ‘The one thing the report cannot bring back is the jobs of 6,000 workers. What we are calling for now is the release of the money promised to workers and for it to be distributed fairly. We are asking the Phoenix Four and the bank concerned to act urgently.”
[Source: Birmingham Post]
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