Directors banned over BBL

Company continued to trade to detriment of HMRC
Company continued to trade to detriment of HMRC

Two directors of a publishing company have been disqualified for abusing taxpayer-backed Covid business loan support.

The Insolvency Service found that Nicola Chambers caused Chambers Media Ltd to obtain a Bounce Back Loan (BBL) of £50,000 from NatWest Bank when she knew that Chambers Media was insolvent, and the firm's assets had already been sold. 

Chambers Media sold its business and assets, and ceased to trade, on 2 March 2020.

Nicola Chambers applied for the loan on 11 May 2020.

“Mrs N Chambers knew, by 22 November 2019 at the latest, that Chambers Media was insolvent,” the Insolvency Service report stated.

“The loan was not used for the economic benefit of the business, contrary to the terms of the BBL. The balance on the account was £3,974.52 the day before the BBL was credited, on 14 May 2020.

“On 14 May 2020, Mrs Chambers was paid £7,500 by Chambers Media, a further £17,000 was paid to the other directors and £25,000 was transferred to a connected company.

“By 19 May 2020, the balance on the account was £833.40.”

According to Companies House the other directors of Chambers Media at the time were Ben Chambers and Donna Chambers.

The Insolvency Service said that Nicola Chambers also failed to ensure that Chambers Media met its financial commitments as regards Corporation Tax, PAYE/NIC and VAT and caused the company to trade to the detriment of HM Revenue & Customs and to her own benefit from at least 7 January 2018.

VAT for May to November 2017 was not paid when due. A TTP was agreed but was then breached when the February 2018 VAT return was not submitted or paid when due.

Most payments to HMRC ceased around mid-2019.

“Analysis of the accounts for 2018 and 2019 and the subsequent Statement of Affairs shows that whilst other creditors have been paid off, and trade creditors are owed a (comparatively) very low amount, the HMRC liability has continued to increase significantly over time. The only other substantial liability at liquidation was the BBL.”

HMRC’s proof of debt stands at: preferential £178,276.74 and non-preferential: £10,225.21.

Chambers, who was born in January 1972 and whose last known address was on Highdown Avenue in Worthing, has been banned for 12 years, with the ban effective from 14 June 2023.

Fellow director Donna Chambers has also been disqualified for four years, from the same date.

Donna Chambers was born in June 1955 and her last known address was on Monkmead Copse in West Chiltington, Pulborough.

Chambers Media went into voluntary liquidation in March 2021. The total estimated deficiency was £189,899 at the time.

In their subsequent report, liquidators from Quantuma Advisory said they were also attempting to settle directors’ and associated company loans “in excess of £100,000”. In a further update, as of 4 May 2023 the loans remained outstanding.

Chambers Media is now the trading name of Global News Media Ltd, based in Worthing, which is described as an “international publisher, global PR agent and advertising specialist” focused on demolition, asbestos and diggers.

Global News Media's sole director and majority shareholder is Ben Chambers.