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Creditors could fund Visit London £7m pension deficit

09/06/2011

Visit London went into administration owing trade creditors in excess of £2.5m and with pension liabilities of £7m, and Administrator Cork Gully has confirmed that, as things currently stand, trade creditors will only receive in the region of just 35-45 pence in the pound because Visit London’s assets will be distributed equally between all liabilities including the pension fund.

However the Mayor’s Office is in talks with the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) to see if it will pick up a greater share of the liability and allow more cash to be distributed to trade creditors. Visit London was placed in administration on April 1 after London & Partners, the new agency designed to replace it by the Greater London Authority, decided it could not take on its pension liabilities.

The responsibility for the £7m deficit would fall on the PPF, which provides compensation when companies go into administration and there are insufficient assets. But the Visit London Pensioners Action Group (VLPAG) does not want the PPF to pick up the tab as the fund only pays 90 per cent compensation to people below their scheme’s normal pension age.

Spokeswoman for the group, Louise Wood, said: “We understand that the first meeting of the Mayor's Office, London & Partners, and the British Tourist Board Pension Trustees has taken place. The action group is waiting – with baited breath - to see if the parties can find a solution to our pension situation that will deliver us from reliance upon the Pension Protection Fund.”

Visit London’s largest single trade debt was £444k owed to the Central Office of Information Communications, closely followed by £423k owed to MCI Switzerland, while various offices of VisitBritain were owed £150k. Organiser of the Best of Britain and Ireland travel trade forum, BoB Events, was owed in excess of £36k, while low cost airline Ryanair was owed £60k, ICC London ExCeL was due £30k and a consultancy firm advising how to market to gay people was owed £21k.

The next creditor’s meeting will take place on Monday 20 June.


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