Thursday 19 November marks International Men’s Day, a celebration of the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. 

Thomas Westcott Head of HR Simon Irvin answers some questions about his career to date and reflects on some of the themes of International Men’s Day.

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International Men’s Day celebrates the positive value that men bring to the world, their families and communities. 

Matt Child is a Trainee Chartered Accountant in our Barnstaple office. He reflects on his career to date, what drives him and his commitment to the local community.

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International Men’s Day is celebration of the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. 

Chartered Accountant Szymon Krzyzanowski is based in our Bridgwater office. We asked him some questions about his career to date, what inspires him and his involvement in the local community.

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Taking place on 19 November 2021, International Men’s Day celebrates the positive value men bring to the world, their families and communities. 

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Thomas Westcott has joined forces with the University of Plymouth to launch a new funding programme for the business community. The Research and Development Solutions Fund will provide support to innovative businesses during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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You may have read my previous article, Annual investment allowance, warning about the end of the temporary increase in the annual investment allowance (AIA) cap of £1million. I mentioned how there had been calls for this to be extended, and we have now received the welcome news that the temporary increase has been extended for a further year, until 1st January 2022. 

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The government has made funding available to Local Authorities so that they can provide grant support to businesses affected by the current lockdown. The two grants in question are as follows:

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As one means of helping to repay the billions borrowed to support the economy through the Covid-19 pandemic it now seems quite likely that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will turn his attention to CGT rates and allowances in his next Budget.

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From 1 December 2020, HMRC will regain its status as a preferential creditor in insolvency cases. Though there are still a number of unanswered questions, this change will undoubtedly have a significant impact on creditors’ involvement in insolvency processes.

HMRC was last classed as a preferential creditor in an insolvent event back in 2002. This was known as ‘Crown Preference’. In practice, it meant that following payment to existing preferential creditors, funds would then be distributed to the Crown as a ‘secondary’ preferential creditor. This would take place before any residual funds were distributed to a floating charge holder and then, finally, to unsecured creditors.

HMRC regains its preferential creditor status

The Enterprise Act 2002 effectively abolished Crown Preferences to put HMRC on an even keel with all other unsecured creditors. The only remaining preferential creditors were then arrears of wages, accrued holiday pay and pension arrears (up to certain limits). 

Most professionals would agree that this model has worked pretty well over the past 18 years. Unsecured creditors have been asked to be more active in insolvency procedures and, where they are likely to receive a return, we have seen some evidence of this.

In 2018, the Chancellor announced that Crown Preference would be restored for tax debts including PAYE, NICs and VAT. Notably, Corporation Tax will remain an unsecured debt. Royal Assent was received on 22 July 2020 and HMRC’s preferential status will take effect from 1 December 2020.

What difference will HMRC’s preferential creditor status make?

Many insolvency professionals were surprised at this change. It has been estimated that the change will result in an additional £250m of revenue being returned to HMRC, but at what cost to the economy? It appears very narrow thinking. In recent years, creditors have been encouraged to engage more with the insolvency process. However, as unsecured creditors will now only receive a distribution once HMRC have been paid in full, there are fears that unsecured creditors will not engage with many processes at all.

The knock-on effect of the new Crown Preference will not only impact the return of funds to unsecured creditors, but also lead to an increase in floating charge finance (which will rank below HMRC) and the tightening of lending criteria. Directors may also need to give personal guarantees to secure this type of finance.

It may also be the case that we see existing floating charge lenders call in their debts and/or force companies into an insolvency process prior to 1 December 2020 to mitigate their exposure.

There are a number of unknowns at this stage, but our Business Recovery and Insolvency team will be watching developments closely so we can best advise our clients.

By Jon Mitchell, Partner


Safeguarding is an increasingly high profile issue for charities. All trustees must ensure that their charity prioritises the safety of anyone it comes into contact with.

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