Honda closure could cost over 5,000 jobs, global trends as well as Brexit to blame

Dr Jonathan Owens, Lecturer in Operations Management at the University of Salford Business School, and expert in supply chains, comments on Honda’s announcement that it will close its Swindon car plant. The move will see 3,500 jobs go directly with another 1,500 in the supply chain under threat, according to Dr Owens.

He said that global trends and not just Brexit were to blame for the move, explaining: “The official stance on the decision is that it is based on global trends and not totally on Brexit, as all European market production will consolidate in Japan in 2021. In some ways this follows a well trodden path by the UK’s other car manufacturers recently in that the motor industry is in the midst of a global shift due to an international economic slowdown exacerbated by trade tensions and, specifically a massive shift away from diesel cars.

“So how much of this announcement is related to Brexit? Certainly there has to be serious questions raised about the how confused the negotiations have been carried out resulting with high level of uncertainty, of what is known and unknown by many industries, so close to the exit date. Unfortunately there is a no “one-size-fits-all” approach, however the “Just-In-Time” manufacturing and supply chains will almost certainly be hit the hardest, and this could be another consideration for Honda’s decision to exit in 2021.

“If Honda is seeking to redirect its energies and resources into the Electric Vehicles (EV) it does make sense to focus on the Asia Pacific (APAC) Region. The APAC EV market revenue is seeing a huge growth with the usage of EV’s becoming a new trend in the APAC transportation industry. The higher adoption rates of smart mobility services, government regulations, increasing fuel prices, and growing trend toward adopting non-fossil fuel-based vehicles are supporting the growth of EV’s in this region. In 2017 it as estimated at $30.1 billion, but expected to grow rapidly to $144.6 billion by 2023. The UK and EU simply has not done this on this scale.

“The eventual tariff-free exports from Japan to the EU are believed to have been a major point this decision and certainly have not helped the UK’s long-term trading position. The trade agreement signed earlier this month, the remaining 27 states have pledged to reduce tariffs on cars from Japan 10 per cent to zero by 2027, therefore making a Europe-based production facility less attractive. So why is there any need to stay in the UK?”

CCJs against consumers fall for the first time in six years

In 2018, 1,115,099 County Court judgments (CCJs) were registered against consumers in England and Wales, a fall of two percent on 2017, according to figures released today (February 18) by Registry Trust. This is the first time in six years that the number of CCJs against consumers has fallen.

The average value of a consumer CCJ recorded over 2018 fell by four percent to £1,431, the lowest average on record. The total value of CCJs fell six percent to £1,596million.

In the High Court 175 judgments were registered against consumers in 2018, a rise of 29 percent. However, compared to 2017, the total value of high court judgments (HCJ) rose significantly by 130 percent to £154.3million. The difference can be explained by the unusually low total value in 2017, which at £67.2million was the lowest on record. The 2018 figure is only a rise of eight percent when compared to 2016’s total of £142.8million.

The total value of all debt judgments against consumers in the courts in England and Wales during 2018 was £1,750.2million, a fall of one percent from 2017’s total value of £1,765.9million.

Registry Trust is the Registrar of Judgments, Orders and Fines in England and Wales (on behalf of the Ministry of Justice). In addition, it collects, verifies and publishes judgment information from jurisdictions throughout the British Isles and Ireland.

It provides its licensed credit reference agencies with regular updates on outstanding judgment debts. This information affects the ability of all enterprises to borrow.

As well as distributing judgment information under strict licensing to leading credit reference agencies, Registry Trust makes information publicly available through TrustOnline.

There were 202,254 public requests to search the register for England and Wales online during 2018. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against businesses and consumers in jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland.

On behalf of TrustOnline, Mick McAteer, deputy chairman of Registry Trust said: “Registry Trust’s data provides an important indicator of the financial health of UK households. This new data showing a small reduction in the number of CCJs in 2018 suggests some welcome relief for households. But, clearly more needs to be done to support those households still getting into financial difficulty.”


● CCJs against consumers 2018 (compared with 2017)
o Total number: 1,115,099 (down two percent)
o Total value: £1.6bn (down six percent)
o Average* value: £1,431 (down four percent) [lowest annual average on record]
o Median: £592 (down 14 percent)

● High Court judgments against consumers 2018 (compared with 2017)
o Total number: 175 (up 29 percent)
o Total value: £154.3m (up 130 percent) [2017 was lowest on record] (2018 up eight percent compared to 2016)
o Average* value: £881,649 (up 79 percent)
o Median: £29,528 (up 13 percent)

  • Average value refers to the ‘mean’. The mean average tends to be higher than the median, as it is more distorted by outlying, high value cases.

Rise in adverse judgments against companies in 2018

There was an almost 30 percent increase in the number of adverse county court judgments against incorporated businesses in England and Wales in 2018, according to figures released today (February 18) by Registry Trust.

The number of CCJs against incorporated businesses was up by 27 percent at 93,534, though this was counterbalanced by a fall in judgments against typically smaller unincorporated businesses which was one percent lower than in 2017 and is now the lowest annual figure on record at 31,849.

The average value of an adverse business CCJ grew 25 percent to £3,737, while the total value of business CCJs rose 49 percent to £468.6million.

During 2018 the average value of a CCJ against companies rose 27 percent compared to 2017, to £3,971, though the median value fell three percent to £952. The average value for unincorporated businesses rose by 15 percent to £3,052, with the median rising 10 percent to £1,149.

In the High Court 90 judgments were issued in 2018, a 70 percent increase from 2017’s record low, bringing the number back in line with 2015/16 figures. However, the total value of High Court judgments fell to £71.6million, the lowest annual figure on record. The average value of the high court judgments in 2018 fell by 60 percent to £795,666 and the median value at £10,022 had dropped 85 percent from the 2017 figure, which included a number of large value judgments against overseas companies.

Mick McAteer, deputy chairman of Registry Trust said: “The number of County Court Judgments issued in a year is an indicator of how the economy is performing. While the total of judgments against businesses was up significantly this was counterbalanced by the fall in judgments against unincorporated organisations, which was the lowest annual figure on record.”

Registry Trust is the Registrar of Judgments, Orders and Fines in England and Wales (on behalf of the Ministry of Justice). In addition, it collects, verifies and publishes judgment information from jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland.

It provides its licensed credit reference agencies with regular updates on outstanding judgment debts. This information affects the ability of all enterprises to borrow.

As well as distributing judgment information under strict licensing to leading credit reference agencies, Registry Trust makes information publicly available through TrustOnline.

There were 202,254 public requests to search the register for England and Wales online during 2018. TrustOnline allows anyone to search for judgments and similar information registered against businesses and consumers in jurisdictions across the British Isles and Ireland.

CIVEA responds to Citizens Advice latest attack on bailiffs

Responding to Citizens Advice’s latest attack on the enforcement industry, Russell Hamblin-Boone, chief executive of the Civil Enforcement Association, said: “This is a very narrow campaign that attempts to place the problem of unmanageable household debt at the door of the enforcement industry. While it makes for some appealing headlines, anyone who understands our judicial process will appreciate that this is a gross simplification. A visit by an enforcement agent is always the council’s last resort.

There are prescriptive regulations that set out in detail the powers and procedures for collecting money owed to local authorities. Local authorities issue court orders and warrants instructing enforcement agents to collect unpaid debts to pay for social care, police, child support services, refuse collection. But Citizens Advice has offered no suggestions on how these local authorities would be supervised under a new regulator.

Citizens Advice researchers are a law unto themselves when it comes to research. They continue to use poor research, self-selecting surveys and anecdotes in a futile attempt to deflect from a lack of genuine evidence. Even a parliamentary committee has been unable to get a detailed explanation of where the figures come from. Do we really believe that 6 times more people have an opinion on bailiff regulation than watch X Factor?

The reality is that enforcement firms have excellent relations with the majority of their local Citizens Advice bureaux and work collaboratively to help people with problem debt. Like the adviser that had a client who had been visited by an enforcement agent for a magistrate court fine. The person was identified as being financially vulnerable, and his wife was being treated for cancer. Working together the agent and adviser arranged for the debt to be referred back to the court as unenforceable. The adviser reported that the agent was really helpful in helping to identify other fines and their courts of origin.

Enforcing public debt is a complex judicial process and agents act within the law. So we cannot base decisions about new regulations on the views of a handful of debt advisers who consistently demonstrate a worrying lack of knowledge of the existing regulations.

The Ministry of Justice is gathering robust evidence to identify any systemic problems in the enforcement process. Debt advice groups could make better use of their time by supporting the work of the industry to make sure that local services continue to get the funds they desperately need. “

Shieldpay comments on Confirmation of Payee System

Tom Clementson, Director of Consumer & SMB at ShieldPay, said: “The banks need to get their act together and bring in proper protection for consumers sooner rather than later. The delay to the Confirmation of Payee system will mean that thousands more people will be exposed to fraud over the next year and currently there is no clear indication of when protections will come into effect. It’s vital that increased safety checks are put in place to ensure consumers do not become victims. The adoption of technology, which verify both identity and matching bank accounts, is one solution that can help to eliminate the risk and should undoubtedly be used more widely.”

High Court Enforcement Group wins three awards

High Court Enforcement Group (HCEG) is delighted to announce that they have picked up three awards in three different areas namely training, landlord legal services and technology.

British Credit Awards

At the British Credit Awards held on 7th February HCE Group won best use of credit technology for their ‘remote bailiff’ app.

High Court Enforcement Group (HCE Group) has developed, using its own in-house IT team, an enforcement agent application called Remote Bailiff, which is fully encrypted and secure and has enabled our enforcement agents to operate more effectively.

This in turn has improved our operational efficiency, enabled enforcement agents to spend more time on visits and far less on administration, which has impacted positively on collection rates and client satisfaction.

Remote Bailiff is stable technically and is very fast, providing data-rich quality reporting quickly to clients and we can stream data into a client’s case management system, adding significant value.

Modern Law Awards

At the Modern Law Awards held on 31st January HCE Group won the outstanding commitment to training.

High Court Enforcement Group (HCE Group) is the UK’s largest independent High Court enforcement company. With new regulations in 2014, we invested in the highest standard of training to keep our people fully up-to-date.

We are the only enforcement company to become a recognised assessment centre delivering bespoke level 2 and Level 3 Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) training. We have two L2, three L3 qualifications and five Quality Marked workshops, with more in development.

In 2018 our training was endorsed by the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEx) and we became an approved training provider to the Ministry of Defence’s Enhanced Learning Credits Scheme for current and former members of the armed forces.

Our training is also available to law firms, local authorities and the third sector. By creating higher level qualifications and demonstrating their value, we hope to have encouraged all in enforcement to raise standards throughout the industry.

LIS Awards

At the LIS awards on 15th November 2018 they picked up the best landlord legal services provider.

At HCE Group we have a range of materials devised to educate landlords as to the procedures necessary to carry out residential evictions. We work with landlords directly and via property solicitors.

We have a faster route to do this than the county court bailiff route and can transfer paperwork up to the High Court on behalf of landlords.

Our instruction forms and transfer up request for possession form are online and straightforward to use for landlords.

We break down the step by step process for landlords on our website and assist with the correct wording to use on the transfer up application.

We employ all our enforcement agents, this gives landlord peace of mind when we are dealing with their property, it means that our agents are fully trained. It also means we protect our employees when it comes to their safety and have vehicle tracking and body worn cameras.

Our network of enforcement agents is nationwide, meaning we can act swiftly once we have received the client’s instruction.

We also offer a debtor tracing service, this can be particularly helpful where a tenant has moved on and has rental arrears, we can trace the tenant to their new residence and pursue any High Court judgment.

We have never failed in obtaining land or property back for a client.

Rising mortgage possessions could be the start of a more permanent shift with a widening North South divide

Mark Pilling, Managing Director of Spicerhaart Corporate Sales, which deals with arrears and repossessions on behalf of lenders, says “The latest mortgage and landlord possession statistics show that after years of falling possession rates, all mortgage possession actions have increased, with mortgage possession claims up 30% to 5,648 – that is more than 15 a day. Orders are also up 29% and warrants are up 30%.

“And while it is probably too early to say if this is a reversal of the downward trend or just a temporary fluctuation, the most recent mortgage lenders and administrators showed that mortgage arrears had increased for the first time in two years. So when you consider both sets of stats, plus the fact many people are now relying on credit cards for everyday purchases (credit card debt is at record highs) this could be the beginning of a more permanent trend.

“The data also reveals that there is still very much a North-South divide, with five of the highest repossession rates in the North. Middlesbrough was the highest, with 53 per 100,000 households, followed by Barrow-in Furness and Blackpool. The North also had the highest rates of actual repossessions, and while arrears and possessions have always been higher in the North, over the next few years, it could get even worse. We have already seen a number of new ‘hot spots’ such as Manchester and Blackpool, and as people look to move out of London we could see house prices pushed up even further, impacting affordability and therefore arrears and possessions.

“Repossession should always be the last resort and lenders should always look to find another option if it is available. We can help lenders find solutions that best suit them and their customers, so it is important that lenders start looking at all their borrowers and identify those who are already having difficulties managing their mortgage or are likely to.”

Repossessions down by 26.3% in Q4 2018

New figures released by the FLA show that the number of second charge repossessions in 2018 was 147, 8.1% higher than in 2017.

In the final quarter of 2018, the number of repossessions was 28, down by 26.3% compared to the same period in 2017.

The number of properties repossessed during the twelve months to December 2018 represents 0.09% of the number of outstanding agreements in that period.

Commenting on the figures, Fiona Hoyle, Head of Consumer and Mortgage Finance at the FLA said: “The low number of repossessions in the market shows that lenders are committed to helping those in ‎financial difficulties.

“The sooner customers make contact, the easier it is to find a solution.”

Phillips & Cohen adds to global executive leadership team with a focus on data systems and analytics

Phillips & Cohen Associates, Ltd., the international deceased account management specialist, servicing creditors in the US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, Spain and New Zealand, reaffirms its commitment to the importance of data and information analysis with the appointment of Dani Shi as Senior Vice President of Global Data Systems & Analytics.

In this newly created position, Ms. Shi will lead PCA’s growing analytics, MIS and platform management teams in all markets served by the company.

“We are thrilled Dani has joined our executive leadership team as we take another step forward in the use of analytics to drive our global strategies and innovations. With her considerable experience and education, she is ideally situated to lead our data-driven, strategic vision,” said Howard Enders, President and CLO.

Ms. Shi possesses extensive experience in process, strategic and quantitative analytics in the collections space for multiple large-scale financial institutions, most recently serving as SVP – Risk Analytics for Citi. She earned a Bachelor (Honours), Economics and International Studies from La Salle University and a Masters, Economics from Temple University.

Colombia’s Development Agenda Needs To Prioritise Productive Transformation

To build on its socio-economic progress, Colombia needs to fast track its productive transformation, according to the OECD’s Production Transformation Policy Review (PTPR) of Colombia, released today at a presentation hosted by Colombia’s National Planning Department (DNP).

The PTPR provides timely recommendations on how Colombia can advance on its path towards prosperity on a topic that is among the priorities of the National Development Plan 2018-2022.

The PTPR was produced by the Development Centre of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC); the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), with the support of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO.

Following a peace deal in 2016, Colombia is back on stage after more than five decades of conflict. Between 2000 and 2017, GDP per capita doubled, and the economy grew at an annual average of 4.3%, double the rate of growth of Latin America. The poverty rate declined from 50% to 28% in the same period.

Simultaneously, investors’ confidence has grown, placing Colombia in the spotlight for global investors. In 2017, Colombia’s inward stock of foreign direct investment reached 59% of GDP, ranking amongst the highest in the Latin America and Caribbean region and above the OECD average of 48%.

However, the PTPR signals that despite the progress achieved over the past 20 years, Colombia’s economy still suffers from structural weaknesses that are hampering future advances.

Colombia’s economy remains increasingly reliant on natural resources. In 2017, primary production and mining accounted for 80% of exports, 10% more than in 1991. And despite a relatively long tradition of manufacturing, the sector is becoming less relevant and less competitive. Productivity has not increased enough for Colombia to catch up with more advanced economies. Economic opportunities continue to be limited to a few territories.

In the OECD, Colombia suffers from the second-highest labour productivity gap between regions, after Mexico. In addition, there is still insufficient investment in innovation. Investment in research and development (R&D) in Colombia is 0.25% of GDP, which is 15 times less than the OECD average and well below the top R&D investing country in the region, Brazil (1.2%).

The PTPR confirms that. Colombia has strengthened its institutions, establishing, for example, the National Metrology Institute in 2011 and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation in 2019.

The country has also improved financing for innovation and regional development by earmarking 10% of the national royalties’ system from mining to finance innovation projects in all its regions. The Production Development Policy (PDP) 2016–2025, drawn up by the DNP in co-operation with several ministries and agencies, represents a step forward by setting up a consultative process with all regions in the country to define priorities for increasing exports and productivity.

The PTPR provides a detailed analysis of the PDP’s assets and weaknesses. It identifies three game changers for Colombia to become a competitive and innovative nation that offers new opportunities for all territories and people:

  • Strengthening the government’s planning and anticipatory capacities to shape the future. Colombia could update its planning structure by creating new incentives to achieve a shared commitment to budget allocation and policy implementation.
  • Tapping the productivity potential of all regions. This requires a two-track approach: simplifying red tape and improving the communication infrastructure. At the same time, Colombia needs to invest in fostering export diversification and innovation and to shift from technology adoption to creation.
  • Activating mechanisms to benefit more from trade and investment. To achieve export diversification, Colombia could look at deepening and benefiting more from regional integration and at improving its participation in global value chains, notably by increasing coordination between industrial development, trade and investment policies. Colombia could also strengthen its trade policy by taking advantage of technology transfers and technical co-operation.

According to the PTPR, Colombia is well positioned to move forward. The country can leverage both established and credible planning capacities and a set of well-established private sector institutions to help mobilize private sector investment for innovation and competitiveness.