It has become increasingly apparent that members of the BEIS Strategy, Public Accounts and Treasury Committees are becoming completely and utterly obsessed with badgering the powers that be to publicly name everyone with a Bounce Back Loan.
Their seemingly collective tunnel vision regarding fraud and alleged fraud of the Bounce Back Loan scheme is actually putting innocent business owners who have one of those loans but have committed no fraud in danger.
This is the Notice of Grave Concerned I have sent to the above:
Dear Chair and Committee Members
I write to you today, on the 22nd of March 2022 to ask you all to take a step back, digest what I am about to say before your actions affect the feasibility of many businesses, the mental health and possibly even worse the physical wellbeing of those with a Bounce Back Loan.
Having listened, watched, and more recently attended your Committee Meetings and Evidence Gathering Sessions, it has become obvious to me some of you have acquired tunnel vision and an obsessed with fraud within the BBL Scheme.
That is of course your duty as Public Servants and something that needs addressing, however it has also become somewhat obvious to me your recent obsession with badgering the powers that be to publicly name everyone with one of those loans is going to have devasting consequences that I cannot stay silent on.
We all know why the BBL Scheme was launched, and we all know the huge amounts of cash that was lent out as part of that scheme, and the vast majority of business owners with those loans were eligible and applied for and got them.
There were of course other loan schemes launched around the same time, and due to the value of for example CBILS and CLBILS the State Aid rules in place at the time stipulated the recipients of either of those two loan schemes would be named publicly.
Dependent on when they secured a CBILS or CLBILS , they would either be named on the EU State Aid Transparency website or the recently launched UK Transparency website, the latter which did of course come into effect after Brexit.
However, at no time were there any rules or laws in place that stipulated those with a Bounce Back Loan of £50,000 or less would be named publicly.
In fact, having seen multiple Freedom of Information requests to the British Business Bank in which people asked them to supply the names of those with a Bounce Back Loan, that organisation stated the following:
I urge you all to read, then read again and digest what the British Business Bank has stated repeatedly above as to the dire consequences of naming those with a Bounce Back Loan, and hopefully it will finally dawn on you what those risks are.
Now, to prove my point and help you get an understanding of those dangers I will use a few examples by using members of your own Committees and others who have, as they are required to by law, stated they have a Government backed loan for businesses they were or are associated with as listed in the Register of Members Interest, and lay out the dangers so you can see the point I am making.
Kevin Hollinrake MP
Kevin has stood up in the Chamber of the House of Commons and has mentioned in Committee Meetings that a Company he was associated with had a CBILS. He has also stated, (verifiable via Hansard) that he “never actually drew down” which he then changed to “drew it down and repaid it”.
That CBILS was several £million, and everyone who I have discussed it with is outraged that he took out that loan when the taxpayer was paying huge amounts of interest on it for up to the first 12 months.
Many have asked why, if he had no intention of using it, did he take it out when the taxpayer would then have to pay that interest, and if he needed it as a safety net then he could have applied for it at a later date rather than in the early weeks/months of the scheme and leave it sat there untouched whilst interest was paid by the taxpaying man/woman in the street, or even apply if he did actually need it further down the line.
That repulsion at wasting taxpayers’ cash may be thrown at those with a Bounce Back Loan if they are named publicly, however as Paul Scully did say in another Committee Meeting, taking out a Government backed loan “as a safety net” is what a lot of people did.
Craig Mackinlay MP
Craig was required to mention at another Committee Meeting due to an entry in the Register of Members Interest that a Chartered Accountants that he was or is associated with took out a Bounce Back Loan.
As stated by the British Business Bank above, some people could question why a Chartered Accountants took out such a loan and may avoid using it based on the fact they may have to pay a fee upfront or believe, rightly or wrongly the firm has poor business acumen, not a good look in regard to a Chartered Accountants.
Lord Chandos admitted that two businesses he is associated with got Bounce Back Loans and a third organisation got a CBILS.
What has upset many people with a Bounce Back Loan is that at least one of the members of the Credit Services Association (who are mainly debt collectors) of which he is the Chairman are hounding those now in arrears with their BBL at all hours of the night or day with demands for repayment, and he refuses to step in a do something to help.
Richard stated just the other day that “I should say that I am an adviser to a fund and some companies that may have applied for and may have obtained British Business Bank loans”.
Would he, hand on heart be happy with any of those Companies being named publicly for having a BBL and run the risks and dire consequences outlined by the British Business Bank above?
Think Before You Cause More Distress
You now have a good idea, as I suspect many of you already do, of the very real dangers and dire consequences of naming everyone with a BBL, the British Business Bank could not have been clearer, however just be aware this is what was published by BEIS on the 21st of April 2021:
“For BBLS, there is a requirement to report and publish information about individual aid exceeding €100,000, or exceeding €10,000 if the borrower operates in the agriculture or fisheries sectors”
If you continue to badger the powers that be to name everybody with a BBL those devastating consequences very clearly laid out by the British Business Bank may be played out across the UK.
Keep in mind the BBL scheme has been brought into disrepute, not I may add by the vast majority of business owners who took out such a loan, but by people such as Lord Agnew and some of your Committee Members who continually harp on about sports cars being bought by those with a BBL.
Many of those who took out a BBL had no other option but to do so to survive and many are now struggling to repay them and should not be “shamed” or associated with those who defrauded the BBL scheme.
Hopefully the banks will stop the naming of BBL recipients from happening anyway, but you really do need to think what your actions are doing to those in a dark place and have done nothing wrong.
Let that sink in.
Oh and this is one of thousands of messages I have been sent relating to the above:
I will keep you updated, as always, with their replies.
*Treasury Committee and the Public Accounts Committee have confirmed receipt of the Notice above.
BEIS Strategy Committee have emailed back, so they are now aware: