I was pleased to see that plans for widening the 10 mile stretch of the A9 between Luncarty and the Tay Crossing at a cost of £200 million recently went on display to the public. I recently visited the exhibition in Bankfoot
The Scottish Government has prioritised the dualling of the A9 in a way in which none of its predecessors came close to achieving. We now have a firm commitment with timescales and price tags for the whole route between Perth and Inverness.
I was delighted that plans for the stretch between Luncarty and the Tay Crossing were on public display in Perth, Dunkeld and Bankfoot, and it was good to see so many local folk attend the exhibitions, examine the plans and provide feedback to ensure that the detailed designs will best reflect local needs and minimise the disruption that the work will inevitably cause.
My SNP Westminster colleagues and I have called on the UK Government to step-in and speed up the compensation process for Farepak families after liquidators confirmed in a letter that 207 agents and customers of the Christmas saving scheme have died since the collapse five years ago.
Many of my constituents in Highland Perthshire lost Christmas savings when Farepak collapsed in October 2006 owing £37m to more than 119,000 savers (20,000 customers in Scotland). I also held a well attended public meeting in Aberfeldy on this issue. More than five years later, savers are likely to recover just 5p in the pound, while the final bill for the administrators and their legal advisers has already exceeded £8 million.
It is very sad to learn that, five years after Farepak collapsed, more than two hundred customers have died waiting to receive any of their money back. There is something seriously wrong when liquidations can take years to finalise and people are actually dying before the insolvency gravy train comes to a halt. That really does underline the serious need for an overhaul of the insolvency industry
Five years on from the Farepak collapse that nightmare of Christmas past is still being felt by many low income families. Savers are likely to recover just 5p in the pound, while the final bill for the administrators and their legal advisers has already exceeded £8 million. It is simply disgraceful that, years after the company collapsed, there are customers still waiting to get any of their savings back.
Current UK insolvency regulation has failed. Part of the problem seems to be that the industry is largely self-regulated. UK Ministers should step in without further delay bring this sorry tale to an end and ensure that the savers receive a reasonable return rather than their money going to swell the already bulging pockets of large accountancy firms
Research has shown that Farepak families are not alone in losing out, with other High Street and high profile examples include: Zavvi, the music retail chain, which went into administration in November 2008, owing unsecured creditors nearly £185m – including 510,000 unredeemed vouchers worth an estimated £4.1m. Creditors are just receiving 15p in the pound, while administrators Ernst & Young collected millions in fees.
Furniture chain, Land of Leather, went into administration with debts of £37m in January 2009. Creditors received just 9p in the pound, while administrators Deloitte and Touche collected fees of £2.5m.
Liquidations have no statutory time limit and some, such as the Israel-British Bank, which entered liquidation in 1974 was only finalised in September 2009. Also in 1974, holiday firm Apal Travel went into liquidation – finalised only in August 20089 by which time some of the holidaymakers entitled to receive the 74p in the pound settlement had probably died in the intervening 35 years.
I can be contacted at my office in Blairgowrie at 35 Perth Street, Blairgowrie, PH10 6DL, you can call me on 01250 876 576 or email me at wishartp@ parliament.uk