The Sunday Times has spoken. They have announced the best place to live in the United Kingdom. It turns out that it is Stroud.
"What? No, Stroud."
"But compared to the national crime rate, Slough's is at 96%. Violent crime makes up 34.1% of all crimes reported in the postcode area and it has been described as 'the toilet of Berkshire'."
"Listen. Stroud. S T R O U D."
People don't listen. Fewer people are listening to Kier Starmer, as his poll ratings dip alarmingly and no-one is listening to Anneliese Dodds, the shadow chancellor, who looks like a stressed nursery school teacher whose hair screams, 'my daughter has stolen our hair-dryer'. This is the main issue with Labour. They come across as a dishevelled group of whiny woe betides, facing the will of Boris Johnson's mane across the ballot box, and missing the fact that no-one cares about anything other than getting enough people jabbed so they can go to the pub. The truth is, the Tories have proven to be really good at the only thing that matters in the United Kingdom in 2021; vaccinating the population out of a pandemic.
All of the above means that no-one (apart from insolvency professionals) cares about the rise and rise of the cross claim clam down. The NTI newsroom asked people on the streets of Stroud about this.
"What do you know about the cross claim cram down?"
"I'm sorry. What? Did you know that my sister is only 41 and she got her first jab on Thursday?"
"I've got my second on 20 May and we hope to go to Portugal in July."
The Japanese-owned car parks operator NCP has unveiled its plans to go for a restructuring plan under Part 26A of the Companies Act, allowing it to write off unpaid rent and potentially walk away from some sites. In line with the latest leasehold policy of many major property operators, it has not paid any rent since December after sales generated at its 589 car parks dropped by more than 70 per cent during the pan... blah, blab, blah.
Advised by Deloitte, NCP has categorised car parks into four groups ranging from A+ to C. If less than 75 per cent of creditors in any given group back the restructuring, NCP can seek a judge’s permission to disregard their vote under changes to insolvency law introduced by CIGA in 2020.
Avid readers of the NTI newsroom's daily bulletins will know that Virgin Active are pursuing the same policy for their gyms. Landlords fear that the cram down mechanism could also be used by a raft of other high street chains in their efforts to avoid repaying the estimated £6.5 billion in rent that has built up during the pandemic. Some have called the process 'a CVA on speed' and, when asked to comment Anneleise Dodds said:
"Can anyone lend me a hair grip? Tommy get down off that desk"
Having been sent a letter setting out Virgin Active's plans, landlords objected to Deloitte’s proposed categorisation of creditors on the basis that the worst-affected property owners were being lumped together in the same group. If they object, they could (under the terms of Part 26A) be crammed down. A judge will rule on the categorisation this week
Almost in the same breath all but one of the landlords that joined a legal challenge to a restructuring of Caffè Nero have dropped out of the battle, as the coffee-shop chain fights off a daring raid from Moshin and Zuber Issa, the new(ish) owners of Asda. Under the terms of Caffè Nero’s CVA, its 650-plus landlords will get 30p for every pound they are owed. Shortly before the vote last November, the Issas offered to repay landlords their debts in full as part of a bold move to seize control of the chain run by Gerry Ford, who founded the business in 1997. Despite that, the restructuring was approved by 93 per cent of landlords as it was the only way most of them would receive any rent last year (and this) (and probably next).
A roving reporter from the NTI newsroom asked some non-shoppers in Stroud about this.
"Are you from around here?"
"No, we're from Slough, but we came along in our bubble to visit, as we heard how nice it is."
"Do you have views about the cross claim cram down?"
"Absolutely. I'm 45 in May and hope to have my jab before then. My brother owns a pub, you know."
"God, no. It's a dump. No here in Stroud."