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PHOENIX HIT BY pounds 500m CLAIMS; 'Frivolous' actions delay payouts to ex-MG Rover staff.

Byline: Jon Griffin

MORE than 100 claims totalling a staggering pounds 500 million-plus have been made against Phoenix Venture Holdings - delaying payouts of pounds 2,500 each to former Longbridge workers.

The flood of claims from suppliers, contractors and individuals has emerged in a letter from former MG Rover chairman John Towers to Justice for Rover Workers campaigners. Mr Towers reveals in the letter that many "frivolous" claims have been brought against PVH, which has raised pounds 12.5 million for distribution to over 6,000 ex-workers through an Employee Trust Fund.

But workers will not receive a single penny if a claim for pounds 23 million from HBOS for cash losses allegedly incurred over work with MG Rover succeeds.

Mr Towers says in his letter to Justice For Rover Workers: "With regard to the cash raised from the sale of PVH assets - which chiefly consisted of dealer properties and Studley Castle - these figures are already in the public domain.

"What are not in the public domain are the many, many claims on PVH's assets over the last six years.

"There have been well over 100 such claims, 40 of them since the publication of the DTI report, amounting to more than pounds 500 million.

Many of these are frivolous and are easy to deal with, but some are not and have to be fought, incurring legal costs, and some have to be settled.

"In addition dealing with the taxpayer-funded, vindictive and entirely fruitless DTI report seriously depleted PVH assets."

Mr Towers said the HBOS claim was "outrageous''.

"We are fighting that claim rigorously, but our request for support from the previous Labour administration was summarily turned down.

"We can only hope that the new Government has more regard for former MG Rover employees than the old one, now thankfully deposed."

The Phoenix Four have said they will "vigorously" challenge HBOS and take the dispute to law, and say the bank has no direct claim on money earmarked for the Longbridge Trust.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jun 5, 2010
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